Aviation and Space Legends Land in San Diego...

Aviation and Space Legends Land in San Diego on November 17, 2012 as the San Diego Air & Space Museum Honors its "Class of 2012" Inducting these Pioneering Legends into its International Air & Space Hall of Fame!


San Diego, 10.01.2012

San Diego, CA - October 2, 2012 - On November 17, 2012, the San Diego Air & Space Museum is honoring national and international air & space legends at its 49th Hall of Fame Induction Celebration. Each honoree was selected for their historic contributions to aviation, space or aerospace innovation.

This spectacular evening attracts numerous air and space legends to San Diego and honors the "Distinguished Class of 2012": The Apollo 9 Crew (James McDivitt, Russell "Rusty" Schweickart, David Scott), tested all of the components needed for Apollo 11 to land on the moon just a few months later; Marine Corps Aviation (100th Anniversary), accepting on behalf of the Marine Corps is LtGen Robert E. Schmidle, Jr., Deputy Commandant for Aviation; Barron Hilton, "The Patron Saint of Sport Aviation;" NASA's Space Shuttle (30 Years of Shuttle), longest and most versatile of all America's human space programs; Dan McKinnon, airline owner, served as Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board, Naval Aviator and rescue pilot; Dr. S. Harry Robertson, III, engineer and inventor of the first crashworthy fuel systems which are credited for saving thousands of lives; Ray Wagner, renowned aviation historian and Bob Wilson, founder and President of Wilson Air Center, award winning fixed base operation company.

Planned for the evening of November 17, 2012 in the San Diego Air & Space Museum Pavilion of Flight, guests join the honorees for an evening of fun and extraordinary recognition, as each attendee is offered an experiential peek into the lives of these living air and space legends.

"We're especially pleased to honor the Class of 2012 because these pioneers have not only pushed back the frontiers of air and space exploration, they've also become strong positive role models for today's youth," said Jim Kidrick, San Diego Air & Space Museum President and CEO. "Aviation and space exploration, as embodied by the people we honor in our Hall of Fame, is a metaphor for the American pioneering spirit. It's a critical part of our legacy as a world innovation and technology leader. We must inspire today's kids to tackle the tough science, technology, engineering and math challenges which lie ahead. November 17 will be an evening every guest will remember for a long time, and not want to miss. It's our chance to honor these legends on behalf of every San Diegan."

The San Diego Air & Space Museum's International Air & Space Hall of Fame is composed of hundreds of air and space pilots, engineers, inventors and innovators, along with adventurers, scientists and industry leaders. NASA Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts, and Russian cosmonauts are honored in the Hall of Fame, plus famous flying pioneers such as the Wright brothers, Charles Lindbergh and Chuck Yeager. Notable inductees include Jack Northrop, William Boeing, Reuben H. Fleet, Glenn Curtiss, Walter Zable Sr., Fran Bera, Wally Schirra, Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, T. Claude Ryan, Jimmy Doolittle, Frederick Rohr and Waldo Waterman.

"Inspiring kids to undertake tough science and engineering challenges is only the first step," Kidrick said. "We must also give them the resources they need to complete hard science education majors."

Proceeds from the evening benefit the Museum's education programs.

The Class of 2012:

Apollo 9: Apollo 9 (James McDivitt, Russell "Rusty" Schweickart, David Scott) was one of the most important missions in the entire space program. A critical precursor for the Apollo 11 moon landing, Apollo 9 perfected docking and rendezvous procedures, was the first manned test of the fragile lunar landing vehicle, and tested the space suits that would be worn on the moon. Apollo 9's command module, "Gumdrop," is proudly displayed in the Museum's rotunda.

Marine Corps Aviation (100th Anniversary): In 2012, the United States Marine Corps celebrates its 100 years of aviation. Beginning with Alfred A. Cunningham's first flight as a Marine aviator in 1912, to the tilt-rotor technology of the MV-22B Osprey, Marine Corps aviation has continued to revolutionize its support of ground forces in modern-day warfare. Accepting on behalf of the Marine Corps is LtGen Robert E. Schmidle, Jr., Deputy Commandant for Aviation.

Barron Hilton: Known as "The Patron Saint of Sport Aviation," Barron Hilton's first love was flying. An avid pilot, he went on to pioneer the aircraft leasing business. His renowned Flying M Ranch hosts the world's largest sailplane competition. He has invested in and inspired youth aviation camps, ballooning challenges, and in innumerable other ways, has been an incredible supporter of aviation and space innovations.

NASA's Space Shuttle (30 Years of Shuttle): From its origins in the late 1970s to its final flight in 2011, the shuttle proved to be the longest lasting and most versatile of all America's human space programs. A radical concept, NASA would build a fleet of enormous winged vehicles that could each be used hundreds of times. Operating on the very edge of the possible, the shuttle would face technological challenges, but would also accomplish more objectives than any other space program in history. Accepting on behalf of NASA are Dave Radzanowski (NASA Chief of Staff) and Brent W. Savell (Shuttle Program Manager).

Dan McKinnon: As the last Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board, Dan McKinnon oversaw the deregulation of the airline industry from 1981 to 1984. He served as a naval aviator and rescue pilot, authoring books about his experiences. With family roots in San Diego, Dan fostered newspapers and a local country radio station to success. He is the president and founder of North American Airlines.

Dr. S. Harry Robertson, III: As a USAF pilot, Harry Robertson was assigned the task of investigating fatal, post air crash fires. By 1970, he had successfully developed the first crashworthy fuel system which was eventually adopted for use by all the armed services. Today, Crashworthy Robertson Fuel Systems are affectionately known as "Robbie Tanks" and are credited for saving thousands of lives in civilian and military aircraft and ground vehicles.

Ray Wagner: Ray Wagner was a well-known expert in the field of aviation history. He was a founder and vice-president of the American Aviation Historical Society, a board member of the International Aerospace Hall of Fame, and author of numerous aviation publications. Ray served as the San Diego Air & Space Museum's Head Archivist for 16 years.

Bob Wilson: Bob Wilson is the founder and president of Wilson Air Center, an award winning fixed base operation company with four locations in the United States. He served in the Tennessee Air National Guard for thirty years, retiring as Operations Group Commander. Bob has received several awards for his career in aviation and was inducted into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame in November 2006.

The San Diego Air & Space Museum is California's official air and space museum and education center. The Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and it was the first aero-themed Museum to be accredited by the American Association of Museums. Now on display, "How Things Fly" a special exhibition that examines the wonder of flight through four fun and interactive zones. The Museum is located at 2001 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101. The Museum and gift store are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

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