LAS VEGAS — More than 200 people joined in honoring the Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame Enshrinees Class of 2018 at a celebration kicking off Veterans Day weekend on Nov. 9.
Three individuals were enshrined, along with the United States 4477th Test and Evaluation Squadron. There have now been 47 individuals and groups enshrined since the Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame was created in 2010.
Class of 2018
The United States 4477th Test and Evaluation Squadron (4477 TES) was a product of Project Constant Peg, a unit created to expose the tactical air forces to the flight characteristics of fighter aircraft used by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Secretly operating from the Tonopah Test Range in Nevada, the squadron operated Soviet MiG-17s, MiG-21s and MiG-23s between 1977 and 1988 to train US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps pilots and weapon systems officers in air combat tactics against these foreign aircraft.
Known as The Red Eagles, they revitalized the art of dogfighting, bringing fundamental changes in US air combat tactics that played a significant part in the Air Force’s Red Flag program and the US Navy’s Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program (SFTI), more popularly known as TOPGUN.
Richard F. Sinclair served in the United States Air Force at Nellis AFB, Nevada, following a tour of duty in Vietnam. While an A-4 aircraft flight chief with the 4538th FWS at Nellis AFB, the Air Force detached him to the Foreign Technology Division at Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio in 1968. There, he participated in various projects in Nevada where he performed technical evaluations of acquired Soviet MiGs that resulted in the Air Force’s Red Flag program and the US Navy’s Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program (SFTI) known as TOPGUN that reversed the ratio of US military planes lost in the Vietnam War and all wars since.
As a Senior Master Sergeant, Sinclair continued to work on the classified program which eventually became the 6513 Flight Test Squadron assigned to the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB in California. Promoted to Chief Master Sergeant, Sinclair continued to serve as the chief of maintenance in the 6513th Flight Test Squadron operating in a classified area in Nevada.
For national security reasons, these activities and their venue remain classified. Retiring from the Air Force in 1979 after 28.5 years of military service, he immediately joined The Lockheed Aircraft Company Skunkworks as a lead mechanic for the then-classified development of the F-117 Stealth Fighter. His experience on previous classified programs significantly aided in the fastest development process in the post-WWII era of the F-117 to a fully operational aircraft in two years from its first flight.
During 1962 to 1965, Donald J. Donohue, as a US Air Force pilot and an aircraft maintenance officer, served with the CIA Project OXCART at Area 51. Retiring from the US Air Force in 1973, Donohue formed Las Vegas Air Lines as the CEO and sole owner, flying Grand Canyon air tour operations until 1998.
Donohue revolutionized Grand Canyon air tour operations by being the first Grand Canyon tour operator to have a multi-language capability, an air-conditioned fleet, instrument capable fleet with all airline transport rated pilots, and to achieve the commuter standards to meet the regulation change in 1979. With international marketing sales offices in 14 countries, Donohue’s company employed up to 64 personnel and operated as many as 31 aircraft, flying as many as 136 flights in one day.
Robert N. “Bob” Broadbent, a pharmacy owner in Boulder City, Nevada, from 1950 to 1975, was a public servant and politician with a storied career that spanned near half a century. As a member of the Clark County Liquor and Licensing Board in the mid-1970s, Broadbent spoke out against the organized crime regime at the Stardust, launching what would become the most significant purge of the mob from the casino industry in Las Vegas history.
In 1987, Broadbent accepted the post of running the McCarran Airport in Las Vegas, overseeing a budget that exceeded $1 billion a year for what was then the nation’s 21st busiest airport. He managed more than $1 billion in improvements at the airport, including terminal expansion, a new parking garage, a new runway, an international charter terminal and the connector road to Interstate 15.
As director of aviation, he rebuilt the North Las Vegas Air Terminal, bought the old Henderson-Sky Harbor airport and refurbished the airstrip in Jean.
Broadbent retired from public service in May 1997 with the McCarran International Airport the nation’s ninth busiest airport.