The Alaska Aviation Museum honored its founder and three pioneer aviators by inducting them into the Alaska Aviation Hall of Fame on Saturday, March 24, at the Egan Center in downtown Anchorage.
Attended by more than 260 people, the Hall of Fame is one of the museum’s largest fundraisers of the year. This year’s Hall of Fame went far beyond that, by recounting the history of the aviators, which coincided with honoring the legacy of their families, Alaskan aviation history, and the museum’s 30th anniversary.
Gov. Bill Walker was in attendance and witnessed the induction and presentation of each recipient.
Each honoree was presented a special plaque, a citation from the Alaska Legislature, and a film depicting their stories.
For his part in developing and creating a new way to access Alaska, Carl Brady Sr. was awarded the Aviation Entrepreneur Award for his contribution to the development of Alaska by bringing Alaska its first helicopters in the 1940s. Daughter Linda Farr excepted his plaque for the Brady family.
For the enduring memories of the numerous rescues, as a pilot for Magee and Star Airlines, Kenny Neese was awarded the Explorer & Pathfinder Award. Joy and Kenny Guyer, the grandchildren of Kenny Neese, were on hand to accept the award and complimented the museum on his presentation and induction on the Hall of Fame.
Known as “Mike,” Col. Howard Hunt was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. Hunt, 96, was on hand, wearing his original Army Air Corp uniform and cap to accept his award and to offer his wisdom on learning to fly, flying as a career, and enjoying his long life.
Hunt also will be at the National Museum of the US Air Force in May at the unveiling of the newly restored Memphis Belle, which he piloted in the 1940s while in the military. Hunt is also the last living World War II pilot to have flown the B-17 bomber as PIC.
As part of the celebration gala, the museum also honored founder Ted Spencer, Jr., with the Alaska Aviation Museum Founders Award.
There was also a special presentation to aid PenAir pilot Bryan Carricaburu, who is battling cancer and who flew for 39 years for PenAir, became the chief pilot, and later the director of operations.
The Alaska Airmen Association and the museum sponsored two tables at the event that allowed 18 students from EXCEL Alaska (Excellence, Communication, Employability Skills, Leadership) to attend the ceremony.
EXCEL teamed with Jamie Klaes at CKT Alaska to design the EXCEL Alaska/CKT Flight School & Pre-Apprenticeship Program. The program includes a 10-day intensive Introduction to Aviation (currently running), followed by a four-week Ground School course in June.
Successful EXCEL candidates will be placed in a flight school program with Land and Sea Aviation at Merrill Field Anchorage, leading to private pilot’s license. Students also team with willing industry partners to provide an 80-hour paid work internship.