Press Release

International Air & Space Hall of Fame Celebrates Class of 2017

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the Atlas Rocket Program, Hudson B. Drake, Embry-Riddle’s Golden Eagles Flight Team, John Herrington, Christa McAuliffe, John J. Montgomery, and Chance Vought enter Hall.

Guests from around the world assembled for a spectacular evening of fun and extraordinary recognition.

The Distinguished Class of 2017 with Jim Kidrick, President & CEO of the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

San Diego, CA – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the Atlas Rocket Program, Hudson B. Drake, Embry-Riddle’s Golden Eagles Flight Team, John Herrington, Christa McAuliffe, John J. Montgomery, and Chance Vought joined the International Air & Space Hall of Fame Celebration at a star-studded celebration at the San Diego Air & Space Museum on November 9.

Guests from around the world assembled for a spectacular evening of fun and extraordinary recognition, as each attendee was treated to an experiential peek into the lives of these air and space legends. Since 1963 the International Air & Space Hall of Fame has honored more than 220 of the world’s most significant pilots, crew members, visionaries, inventors, aerospace engineers, business leaders, preservationists, designers and space pioneers.

The Distinguished Class of 2017 included:

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is nearly 30,000 engineers and scientists, and 95 corporate members, from 85 countries who are dedicated to advancing the global aerospace profession. The world’s largest aerospace technical society, the Institute convenes five yearly forums; publishes books, technical journals, and Aerospace America; hosts a collection of 160,000 technical papers; develops and maintains standards; honors and celebrates achievement; and advocates on policy issues. AIAA serves aerospace professionals around the world — who are shaping the future of aerospace — by providing the tools, insights, and collaborative exchanges to advance the state of the art in engineering and science for aviation, space, and defense.

The Atlas Rocket Program
The Atlas was America’s first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile and also the most significant space launch vehicle in history. The Atlas legacy continues today under the leadership of United Launch Alliance…the spirit of space exploration. No space launch vehicle program ever has achieved the success of the early Atlas pioneers and today’s follow-on innovators.

Hudson B. Drake
Former president of Ryan Electronics and the Ryan Aeronautical Companies, a legendary game-changer in the many fields of aerospace, defense, and electronics for more than four decades. In 1972 he joined Teledyne and was president of Ryan Electronics, and subsequently, the Ryan Aeronautical Companies. Known for his superb team-culture development within the industry, his leadership guaranteed results, on-time, every time! Still advising industry, Hudson is a consummate professional, sought after on matters requiring a keen business acumen.

Hudson and Mary Drake.

Embry-Riddle’s Golden Eagles Flight Team
The winningest intercollegiate flying team of the last two decades! 30 consecutive regional championships and 11 National championships, including back-to-back nationals in 2016 and 2017. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott campus’ Golden Eagles Flight Team does it all: hardworking students striving to continue a long-standing legacy of pride, academic excellence, and competitive superiority.

Embry-Riddle's Golden Eagles Flight Team.

John Herrington
Retired US Naval Aviator and former NASA astronaut, CDR Herrington made history as the first enrolled member of a Native American tribe to fly in space. A Chickasaw American Indian, Herrington flew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in November 2002. He returned to Earth in December 2002 after spending 13 days, 18 hours and 47 minutes in space. During the mission, Herrington performed three spacewalks, the first Native American to walk in space.

John and Margo Herrington.

Christa McAuliffe
In 1985, McAuliffe was selected from more than 11,000 applicants to participate in the NASA Teacher in Space Project destined to be the first teacher in space. As a member of mission STS-51-L, she planned to conduct experiments and teach two lessons from Space Shuttle Challenger. On January 28, 1986, the shuttle broke apart 73 seconds after launch. After her death, schools and scholarships were named in her honor, and in 2004 she was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. Our first teacher to accomplish astronaut status!

John J. Montgomery
San Diego’s own aviation pioneer, inventor, professor, and physicist, February 15, 1858 – October 31, 1911. Best known for his invention of controlled heavier-than-air flying machines. In 1946, Columbia Pictures released a full-length movie titled Gallant Journey based on his life and work. He provided many of aviation’s earliest innovative concepts.

Chance Vought
The story of Vought Aircraft Company begins with Chance Vought, an American aviation pioneer and engineer. His first aircraft design, the Mayo-Vought Simplex, was built in 1914, and first flew in May of 1915. His ingenuity ensured more than 15,000 aircraft and missiles bearing the Vought name were built. A legend of the aerospace history, his efforts led to the creation of the famed F-8 Crusader and A-7 Corsair II, workhorses of Naval Aviation and game changers in combat.

Mark Larson, Chairman of the Board at the San Diego Air & Space Museum, emceed the Hall of Fame Celebration.

 “We’re especially pleased to honor this exemplary Class of 2017 because these pioneers have not only made significant contributions in air and space exploration, they’ve also become strong positive role models for today’s youth,” said Jim Kidrick, President & CEO of the San Diego Air & Space Museum. “Aviation and space exploration, as embodied by the honorees in the International Air & Space Hall of Fame, directly represents the human pioneering spirit.”

Jim and Jerry Kidrick.

Proceeds from the Hall of Fame Celebration benefit the Museum’s youth education programs.

For more information, visit http://sandiegoairandspace.org/exhibits/online-exhibit-page/international-air-space-hall-of-fame.

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 Alliance of Museums. Now showing: Be the Astronaut, a fun, interactive experience where you fly and spaceship, drive a rover and land on the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and an asteroid. 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 5:00 p.m. with admissions until 4:30 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

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 Alliance of Museums. Now showing: Be the Astronaut, a fun, interactive experience where you fly and spaceship, drive a rover and land on the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and an asteroid. 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 5:00 p.m. with admissions until 4:30 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

San Diego Air & Space Museum

Subscribe to our E-Newsletter