OSHKOSH, Wis. – Four aviators — James Igou, Greg Gorak, Darrel Gibson, and Charles Vehlow — will be inducted into the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame (WAHF) at an October 24 ceremony in Oshkosh.
Darrel took his first flight lessons in 1951 and became an employee of Badger Aviation in Eau Claire, in 1958. He founded Gibson Aviation in 1961, a family-run FBO at Eau Claire, where he also served as airport manager from 1961-1976. Gibson offered flight training, charter, and maintenance and was a dealer of Cessna and Piper aircraft. Under Gibson’s watch the airport saw many improvements. The Gibson legacy continues; son Darrel operates Gibson Aviation at the Menomonie, Wisconsin, airport.
Milwaukee’s Greg Gorak founded Gaits Aviation Seminars in 1977 to offer flight instructor refresher courses and has since graduated more than 18,000 instructors. A pilot since 1962, he has logged more than 8,600 flight hours. A past charter pilot and chair of the Career Pilot Program at Gateway Technical College, Greg has earned the designation as a Master CFI and was named as the FAA’s Flight Instructor of the Year in 1977.
Jim served as a B-29 maintenance instructor and later a crew chief on B-17 weather aircraft. After leaving the military, he attended the Spartan School of Aeronautics, earning commercial, instrument, multi-engine, and flight instructor certificates/ratings. In 1953 he began a crop dusting career that brought him to West Bend, Wisconsin, amassing nearly 21,000 flight hours throughout his 25-year agricultural career. The FAA awarded its Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award to Jim in 2007, recognizing more than 50 years of accident free flight.
Born and raised in Waukesha, Vehlow graduated from West Point in 1968. He received helicopter training at Ft. Rucker, Alabama, and then completed a 12-month tour of Vietnam. Back home, he served as a professor at West Point, and then transferred to the Army Reserve. After 26 years he retired as a Colonel. Chuck led the McDonnell Douglas design team on the Longbow AH-64D Apache helicopter, and was later named vice president and general manager of Boeing’s US Army military rotorcraft division.
The Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame has inducted more than 120 men and women since 1985. This year’s ceremony will take place Oct. 24 at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh.