Southeastern Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame

Glenn A. Christensen


Glenn A. Christensen knew he wanted to fly when he was 6 years old and he attended ground school at the YMCA at the age of 14. He worked as a line boy for Carlyle Godske at the Racine Airport. He learned to fly in 1943 and he was half owner of a rare light aircraft - a Welch - before he owned a bicycle or a car. He enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Force aviation when he was 18 years of age. The war ended before he was able to complete his training, but he got his private pilot license on his own. Glenn attended flight school at the old Horlick Airport and received his commercial pilot's license with help from the GI Bill and Carlyle Godske.

He became a Civil Air Patrol Squadron Commander in Racine in 1949, and by 1951 was a Group Commander for Squadrons in Burlington, Walworth, Kenosha, Janesville and Racine, and was promoted to Major by Col. John Batten. Glenn was appointed to build and supervise the area Defense Early Warning System by John Batten. Speaking at clubs, churches, schools and anyone else who would listen, Glenn built the Civil Defense group to 480 volunteers strong. It grew to become the first of all the national DEW organizations to be manned 24 hours a day.

He was in business as a crop duster from 1951 until 1956. Glenn began his career as a corporate pilot as co-pilot for the J. I. Case Company. A capable and energetic pilot, he was hired in 1961 by Bucyrus-Erie (now Bucyrus International, Inc.) in South Milwaukee. There he flew out of the Butler Aviation Hangar, and later Mitchell Aero, now Signature Hangar. He helped to build the aviation department until it had a fleet of three Lear Jets: Models 25, 35 and 55. Glenn was a pioneer in corporate jet aviation. He joined an elite group of Lear Pilots who flew at an altitude of 51,000 feet, and in 1987, received an award from the National Business Aircraft Association for 7, 872,000 - that's million! - accident free flying miles.

Glenn was also a tireless advocate of corporate jet aviation as an industry necessity. His enthusiasm, talent and insistence upon high standards contributed to the concept of corporate jet aviation in SE Wisconsin.

For these significant contributions to aviation in Southeast Wisconsin, it is our pleasure to induct Glenn Christensen into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

Alfred W. Lawson


Alfred W. Lawson was born in London, England March 24, 1869. His family moved to Canada and then to the United States in 1872. He was enamored by flight after watching a dirigible in 1907. He later said "That was the spark that set me afire, and forever afterward I was unable to extinguish the aeronautical blaze that burned within me."

On stationery of the MORRISON HOTEL AND Terrace Garden, Chicago (Telephone 8700), was this hand written notation by Alfred Lawson: "The reason I want to live for 200 years is to have sufficient time to enable me to accomplish certain tasks which I have undertaken and which require long stretches of time to work out properly. The four main jobs which I hope to complete before I die (include)  an extensive air transportation system extending to all parts of the world." This was before the Wright Brothers were even known, except to close friends.

He began developmental aircraft work in 1908.,the same year, he founded Fly magazine. In 1910, he established Aircraft magazine and he used these publications to help ignite the spirit of flight in others, encourage government participation in aviation, and to establish early standards for pilots. He edited a Glossary of Aviation Terms in the 1912 Websters Dictionary,

In 1913 Lawson began flying at Hempstead Field, L. I. He was granted Flying License No. 678, by the Joint Army and Navy Board on Aeronautic Cognizance. His manufacturing career began in 1916 when he sold his Aircraft magazine and moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin where he founded the Lawson Aircraft Company, Green Bay, and began building an aircraft for the government. The Lawson Aircraft Company worked on a reconnaissance aircraft and an armored craft called the Lawson Battler. Lawson developed prototypes of military trainers: the MT-1, and the MT-2. They incorporated military requirements, and flew in 1917 and 1918. A purchase agreement between Lawson Aircraft Manufacturing Co. and the Army was reached, but it was withdrawn by the Army when the war ended. This marked the end of Lawson's Green Bay company, but he built support in Milwaukee, and founded Lawson Aircraft Manufacturing, Milwaukee. It was here that the C-2 Lawson Airliner was built. It was completed in August, 1919, an 18 passenger cabin aircraft. It made an exciting trip to Chicago and then to New York, with stops along the way where fascinated crowds cheered him on.

From the book Aircraft Industry Builder  is this notation: "Lawson's work in Milwaukee was phenomenal. He had neither factory, machinery, material or men in April 1919, but by the 27th day of August, 1919, or, within five months, he built and demonstrated in flight the airliner." (Humanity Publishing Co., Detroit, MI, 1932)

Alfred Lawson's contributions to the promotion of flight, the Lawson Airliner, and his vision and predictions of future flight led the way to concepts of modern passenger travel. For these far-reaching contributions to aviation we are proud to induct Alfred W. Lawson to the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

Carl G. Koeling


Carl G. Koeling made many contributions to aviation as an airport operator, corporate pilot, aerial photographer, flight instructor, and  the Civil Air Patrol. He was born in Racine, and soloed December 12, 1942 while in Air Force Reserve training in at Mankato, Minnesota. He holds A&P License 1424997. Carl holds the following ratings: Glider, Private Pilot, Airline Transport Pilot, Commercial and Instrument License, Airplane Single Engine Land and Sea, G-159, N-265, DA-20, S-210, CV-PBY5, G-73, VC-200, VC-700, 2C-340, CV-240, DC-3, and Multi Engine Land and Sea. He has been a Private Pilot Examiner and a Pilot Proficiency Examiner.

Carl worked at the Racine airport in the 1940s. He was a pioneer airport operator from 1947-1949. at the Capitol Drive Airport in Brookfield. In 1950 he was hired by Harold Kaiser to fly for Walker Manufacturing Company in Racine. During that time he owned and flew a Fairchild 24. He left Racine in 1954 to fly for Kearney & Trecker in Milwaukee, and during that time owned and flew a PT26 and a Stinson SR9C.

Carl's career also included being a spirited and dedicated aviation volunteer. In 1960 he began one of his largest and longest volunteer contributions as a photographer for Sport Aviation Magazine. He has been a Life Member of the National Experimental Aircraft Association, as well as a member of Brodhead Chapter 431. He has also been a member of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and the General Mitchell Advisory Committee. CAP accomplishments include being a CAP Major and Operations Officer for Squadron 10 of the Civil Air Patrol at Timmerman Field in Milwaukee, where he served for close to fifty years. Applauding his lifelong spirit of aviation volunteerism, we are proud to induct Carl G. Koeling into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

2003Dale and Dean Crites


The Crites twins have long exemplified the pioneer spirit of aviation, growing up with airplanes. They have always been aviators, flying by the seat of their pants. Dean and Dale grew up in Honey Creek, just north of Burlington, only a few years after the Wright brothers first flew. The Crites brothers fell in with an aviation crowd early, and things were never the same after that. They built a glider with Robert Huggins at the tender age of 12, then built a powered airplane in 1934. That plane was assembled from scrap Invincible parts, an apt name it seems in retrospect. Continuing to use scrap parts, Dean and Dale put together a Curtiss Pusher, with bits purchased from the Curtiss estate. That plane was donated to the EAA in 1971.

These pioneering brothers trod slightly different aviation paths. Dale concentrated on aeronautic research, with particularly notable results in the area of controlling airflow over lifting surfaces. This contributed to the construction of an experimental slotted wing aircraft that answered many questions about boundary layer control in 1931 and 32. He was also an instructor with the Civilian Pilot Training program in World War II. After the war, Dale became the manager of the Waukesha County Airport, overseeing construction of a new runway, taxiways, and an administration building.

Dean was Robert Huggins first passenger. A few years later, on May 2, 1938, he made the first airmail flight into the recently completed Waukesha County Airport. He went on to marry the first woman in Waukesha County licensed as a pilot, Olive Priess. Dean gained fame as a precision flyer and barnstormer, with his signature maneuver being picking up a handkerchief from a field with his wingtip. Together, Dean and Dale started the Spring City Flying Service, the first flight school in Waukesha County. During World War II, they joined the Civil Air Patrol squadron based in Waukesha, and that helped keep aviation alive and well locally. In 1980, one of many honors came to Dean and Dale when the Waukesha County Airport was renamed Crites Field. The Civil Air Patrol named Dean Wisconsin's Outstanding Pilot in 1985. That same year, Dean and Dale received the Billy Mitchell Award for their pioneering aviation efforts. And in 1989, they were inducted into the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

For two lifetimes dedicated to aviation and marked with exceptional achievement, we are proud to induct Dean and Dale Crites into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

Ed Hedeen


In an era when one aviator was more colorful than the next, Ed Hedeen is best remembered for his unique promotional skills. Ed started in aviation at the Percy Seaplane Base in Pensacola, Florida, as a machinist's mate. He earned a Navy commission in 1919, and was Commander Richard Byrd's engineering officer for four years. During that time, Ed helped establish a seaplane base in Great Lakes. Ed left the Navy in 1925 to developed an airport and flying school in Waukegan. With that up and running, Ed started a flying school in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

By 1928, Ed had moved to Sturtevant and became the manager of the Air City Airport. It didn't take him long to become noticed. In November of that year, he set a record for making 283 barrel rolls in three hours and 25 minutes. Before long, Ed was running the largest flying school in Wisconsin at Air City. Many pilots in Racine, including some of our Hall of Fame inductees, learned to fly from Ed. Ed wasn't just a solo performer, either. He teamed with Fed Lund and Art Davis as part of the official Waco Company aerobatic team, performing throughout the region. This was good for business, since Ed was a Waco dealer.

Not content to teach and perform in air shows, Ed worked with the S.C. Johnson Wax Company to establish their aviation department. With the Wax Bird, Ed served as a goodwill ambassador all over the country. His flair for promotion showed as Ed would deliver the first shipment of wax by air, then take local dignitaries and reporters for an airplane ride. All together, Ed visited 39 cities, covered 12,000 miles, and flew more than 1,000 passengers on the 1929 goodwill tour. The Johnson flight department today remains a world class operation.

During World War II, Ed taught Naval Aviation Cadets in Chicago, and worked as a corporate pilot for the Campbell Parachute Company in Madisonville, Kentucky. After the war, Ed continued his old habits, establishing two airports and flying schools in Kentucky.

For this indomitable pioneering spirit and unmatched ability to promote aviation, we are proud to induct Ed Hedeen into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

Frank Hay


The Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame attempts to honor aviators of all sorts - pilots, mechanics, designers, manufacturers, instructors, and corporate pilots. Seldom can we honor one aviation pioneer for achievement in all of these areas. But then we can only induct Frank Hay once. Frank has excelled in all of these categories during his distinguished aviation career. He soloed as a high school student in 1935, after restoring a Waco 10 with his brother. Ed Hedeen was Frank's instructor in that Waco.

Military service during World War II didn't include any flying, but Frank made up for that with a vengeance. Private and commercial licenses with instrument, multiengine, seaplane, and helicopter ratings, an airframe and powerplant license with inspection authorization, and a parachute riggers license came soon after he left the service. So Frank could fix it, fly it, and leave it just in case. Fortunately the parachuting was for fun, and Frank became a corporate pilot in Racine, flying for Walker, Case, Twin Disc, and Wisco Battery.

He and his brother formed Hay Manufacturing Company, making him another kind of corporate pilot. The firm made tools and based its aviation operations in Racine. In time the business split, with Frank taking Hay Aero Enterprises to the old familiar Air City Airport in Sturtevant. Those enterprises kept expanding, until Frank was restoring aircraft, hauling freight, and even teaching skydiving. Later, he established Midwest Helicopter in Minnesota, servicing Hughes and Schweizer aircraft, and using those machines for aerial photography, aerial applications, and external cargo work.

1963 saw Frank on another adventure. The National Geographic Society and the New York Zoological Society mounted an expedition to the Andes Mountains of Peru. This is a rugged, unexplored, nearly inaccessible place, and exceptional people were needed for the trek. In fact, only two people in the country met the standards. It shouldn't surprise you that Frank was one of them.

Frank served in the Civil Air Patrol under Wisconsin Wing Commander and 1995 Hall of Fame inductee John Batten as the training officer for search and rescue. As a mechanic, Frank has received recognition from the FAA for 50 years of service. Finally, he was one of the original owners of Horlick Airport. For these exceptional pioneering efforts in all aspects of aviation, we are proud to induct Frank Hay into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

2002Earl G. Pingel


Earl Pingel is an accomplished pilot, educator, flight instructor, and aviation historian. Hes been dedicated to aviation since 1943, when he learned to fly as a Naval Aviation Cadet. Many are familiar with Earl's work organizing the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame. Others recognize him from his tireless promotion of the book Forward in Flight: The History of Aviation in Wisconsin. Not only was Earl instrumental in getting this book published, he made sure that every library in the state had a copy.

Despite these considerable accomplishments, Earls greatest achievement may well be in aerospace education. His enthusiasm for aerospace education, and his uncanny knack for inspiring other educators, is legend. Earl is a pioneer at using aerospace activities to teach students. He stated teaching in Minnesota then, moved to Wisconsin. From 1955 to 1985, Earl taught in the West Allis and West Milwaukee schools, always using aerospace to help his middle school students understand other subjects. More importantly, he started teaching other teachers. Working through the University of Wisconsin Extension system, Earl developed, directed, and taught summer aerospace education workshops for other teachers for more than 30 years. His enthusiasm inspired these teachers, to take aerospace education back to their own classrooms. Untold thousands of students from kindergarten though the twelfth grade have been exposed to the wonders of flight and the usefulness of science, math, reading, and history by these workshop graduates.

Earl did much more than teach during this time. He served his country as a Naval Aviator from 1943 to 1968 in various Reserve Squadrons. His service to our country continued in 1985, when Earl joined the Civil Air Patrol. He served as a flight instructor, check pilot, and instructor pilot for the CAP, earning the rank of Major.

In 1960, Earl founded Sky Eye Inc. publishing the first ever photographic directory of Wisconsin's airports. He has also found time to be an active pilot. Earl owned various airplanes, earning a commercial pilot license with multi-engine, instrument, glider, and flight instructor ratings. Hes also worked as a corporate pilot in the summer. Finally, Earl has promoted aviation throughout the entire state of Wisconsin. He has served as vice-president of the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame and Chairman of the Wisconsin Aviation History Committee. For these considerable accomplishments in promoting aerospace education, we are proud to induct Earl G. Pingel into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

Dave Mann


Dave Mann got his first airplane ride at the age of 19. He had so much fun just riding in that Eastern Airlines Boeing 727 that he thought driving one would be even better. Thirteen months later, he was a Commercial pilot with instrument and multi-engine ratings, and he's been flying ever since.

Born and raised in Pine View, Georgia, Dave started flying as a charter pilot out of Atlanta in 1966. He eventually joined the Army Reserves in 1968, moving to active duty in 1969. Dave graduated at the top of his flight school class, and found himself in Vietnam as a lieutenant. He spent a year there, amassing 786 combat flight hours over 307 missions in the RU-21 and RU-21J. Back in the States, Dave served as chief pilot to a general, then joined the Georgia Air National Guard and was checked out in the Grumman OV-1 Mohawk.

1975 found Dave in Alaska, flying personnel, cargo, low level game surveys, and fire bombing for the Department of the Interior. In 1977, Dave flew 486 hours in 182 days, fire bombing in a converted PB4Y-2 Privateer, the Navy version of the B-24. Dave worked next as a corporate pilot for Plasser Thearur Corporation, flying out of Norfolk, Virginia. He moved to Blacksburg in 1984 to head up the aviation department at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

By 1991 he was tiring of the bureaucracy, and jumped at the chance to work for a private airport. Dave moved to Racine on January 1, 1991, and hasn't looked back. Hes been having fun with airplanes ever since, flying over 15,000 hours in 95 aircraft types. Dave is type rated in the B-17, and has flown the EAA Aviation Foundations B-17, Aluminum Overcast, on several tours. He also flew a Junkers Ju-52 for the Commemorative Air Force in 2003.

More importantly, Dave has been running the Racine Commercial Airport Corporation professionally and profitably. He firmly believes that an airport has to be an important part of the community, and Dave makes certain that is the case in Racine. His many professional memberships and awards bear this out, and it is for his life-long dedication, professionalism, and aviation management skill that we are proud to induct Dave Mann into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

Jack Jerstad


The Jerstad name is familiar to many in Racine, but few know the complete story of Major John L. Jack Jerstad. A Racine native, Jack graduated from Northwestern University and became a junior high school teacher in St. Louis. In July, 1941, he enlisted as an aviation cadet, training at Barksdale Field, Louisiana and Page Field in Fort Meyers, Florida in 1942. Late that August, he ferried his B-24, Jerks Natural, to New Hampshire, then to Gander, Newfoundland, and on to Prestwick, Scotland, arriving there on September 4. Jack was based at Alconberry, England, from October, 1942, where he flew a number of missions to occupied France and earned a Silver Star.

By April of 1943, Jack had flown 25 missions and was eligible for reassignment to the United States. He refused, continuing to plan and fly bombing missions in France, Libya, and Italy. A bold plan was needed to destroy the oil refineries in Ploesti, Romania, which produced millions of tons of fuel for the Axis forces, and were a prime strategic target. By May of 1943, the first ever low-level bombing mission for B-24s was devised. Now a Major, Jack Jerstad was selected as operations officer for Operation Tidal Wave.

As one of the mission planners, Major Jerstad was to fly the lead plane for one of the four bombing groups. Once over Romania, the bomb groups got lost. Because he was intimately familiar with the details of the mission, Jack recognized these problems and took decisive action to correct them. He turned his formation back to the refineries, and on toward the target. His B-24 faced heavy antiaircraft fire immediately, and took four direct hits while still three miles from the target.

On fire and badly damaged, Jack and his crew stayed in the air, ignoring the empty fields in front of them. He lead his group to the target. His aircraft destroyed by flames and explosions, Jack crashed just past the refinery. All aboard lost their lives. Fifty three aircraft and 446 aviators were lost on the Ploesti raid. Jack Jerstad received the Medal of Honor posthumously. His citation read in part:

"So high was his conception of duty that he volunteered to lead the formation in the correct belief that his participation would contribute materially to success in this attack. By his acceptance of a mission he knew was extremely hazardous and his assumption of an intrepid course of action at the risk of life over and above the call of duty, Major Jerstad set an example of heroism which will be an inspiration to the U.S. Armed Forces."

For this exceptional, inspirational, and selfless dedication to duty, we are proud to induct Major John L. (Jack) Jerstad into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

2001G. Kenneth Whyte


Ken was always dedicated to both aerospace education and volunteerism. Fortunately for all of us, he's been able to combine these two passions. Ken used aerospace math applications in his classroom at Nathan Hale High School in West Allis, but he's best known for his efforts outside of the classroom. From its beginning in 1976, Ken served as the co-director of the UW-Milwaukee Aerospace Education Summer Workshop. After stepping aside from these duties in 1982, Ken continued to serve as an instructor and pilot through 1994. All together, this summer program exposed over 700 teachers to the entire aerospace industry with flight experiences, tours, and classroom activities. These teachers went on to educate thousands of students and their parents about aviation. In 1995, Ken started the Aerospace Summer Camp for kids ages 11 to 17 at the Capitol Drive airport. Just a year later the camp was expanded to include three basic sessions, with one held here in Racine at Chapter 838, and an advanced session.

But Ken's life was more than being an aviation educator. He was also an active member and volunteer in the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). Ken has given more than 300 introductory flights to students and adults, and flown 220 Young Eagles.  More visibly, Ken parked airplanes for years; at Oshkosh, he's been the Co-Chairman of Custom Aircraft Parking for EAAs AirVenture since 1982, responsible for arranging the thousands of show planes that descend on Oshkosh every July into neat, safe, organized rows. Then, a week or so later, he has to make sure they all leave in a safe and orderly fashion, which may be even more of a challenge!

Ken has received many awards for all of this activity. He's been named an Aerospace Ambassador by the American Society for Aerospace Education. The EAA has twice given him appreciation certificates. The Civil Air Patrol has recognized him with a scholarship. Ken was named Aerospace Educator of the Year from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and the Billy Mitchell Chapter of the Air Force Association gave him their outstanding Aerospace Educator award. Finally, he received the President's Award from the EAA in 1994. For this active, unstinting support of aerospace education and aviation volunteerism, we are proud to induct G. Kenneth Whyte into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

John P. Duffey


John P. (Jack) Duffey has been called the leprechaun of the air traffic control system. For years, pilots flying in and out of Racine recognized him from the first syllable he spoke on the radio. His jovial Irish wit always came through, even while maintaining the highest standards of safety and holding to the strict conventions of air traffic communications. This wit can be traced back to World War II.

After learning to fly in Kenosha in 1938, Jack served in England as a flight instructor for the Royal Canadian Air Force. There, he and his students damaged three British aircraft. Jack has claimed since then that with two more, the Germans would have declared him an ace. As the war progressed, Jack joined the United States Navy in 1942, and returned to the States. He continued as an instructor, then checked out in the DC-3 and started flying for the Navy Air Transport Service. Most of his Navy flying was in the R4D, the Navy's version of the DC-3, in the Admiralty and Philippine Islands.

In 1947, Jack began his air traffic control career with TWA in Kansas City. Transferring to Mitchell Field in 1954, he remained in Milwaukee's tower until his retirement in 1977. From that tower, Jack guided the many corporate pilots that called Racine home in and out under all sorts of weather conditions with the utmost professionalism, precision, and emphasis on safety. For this unmatched dedication to aviation safety, we are proud to induct John P. Duffey into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame

Melvin C. Morkert


Mel is the mechanic's mechanic. He's kept almost everything flying, and flying well, for 50 years. Mel's mechanical knowledge was first put to use in World War II in the Army Corps of Engineers, working on the Alaska Highway and then a number of bridges and air strips on islands in the South Pacific. While attending Cal Aero Tech in Glendale, California, after the war, Mel helped prepare the Howard Hughes Round the World Boeing project.

In 1950, he went to work for the Racine Flying Service (later the Racine Commercial Aircraft Corporation) as a mechanic. At the airport, Mel worked on everything. This was a time when a variety of ex-military aircraft were being converted for civilian corporate use, and Mel was involved in that. He was also maintaining the fleet of pre-World War II aircraft that were active at the time. As the decades progressed, Mel worked on turbo-props, pure jets, and helicopters in turn.

His expertise extended to both the airframe and the powerplant, giving him experience in everything from the fabric covered biplanes of the barnstormers to the latest intercontinental business jets. He earned his Inspection Authorization along the way, and has been a mentor for every new mechanic on the field. Mel's reputation spread beyond Racine, and corporations from around the country brought their aircraft here for Mel to maintain.

In 1970, Mel joined fellow Hall of Fame member Elmo Halverson as Chief Mechanic for the S.C. Johnson flight department, where he remained to his retirement in 1991. Mel is really more than a mechanic. He has earned several Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs), which are granted for extensive modifications or improvements to existing production aircraft, and involve considerable engineering ability. The most notable is for the Piper Cherokee Six. Mel's STC upgrades the original 260 horsepower engine to 300 horsepower.

And Mel doesn't just fix airplanes, or make them perform better, he flies them. Since learning to fly in Texas in 1948, hes owned a Piper Cub, a Fairchild PT-23, and a Waco YKS-7, giving Mel considerable flying experience in light aircraft. For these substantial contributions to aircraft maintenance and engineering, we are proud to induct Mel Morkert into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

2000Carl Helmle


Carl Helmle was an aviation educator all his life, and we tend to think of him as one with the Aviation Explorers. But there's more to Carl than the Explorers--he was also a photographer, a past member of the Civil Air Patrol, and was an aircraft mechanic in the Army. Carl was able to combine interests when he took up aerial photography. Typically, Carl didn't just take pictures from airplanes. Carl developed his expertise until he was able to publish a book on the subject, and, ever the educator, he led aerial photography forums for many years at EAAs Oshkosh Fly-In.

Carl became involved with the Aviation Explorers in 1972, and has continued that involvement ever since. Starting in Racine with Post 218, Carl's Exploring culminated with the Explorer Base in Oshkosh, where Explorers from around the world gather every summer for a truly hands-on aviation experience. The history of Aviation Explorer Post 218 is pretty remarkable, and Carl was instrumental in most of it. Twenty-eight years ago, Post 218 decided that they wanted a hands-on summer activity, so they went to Oshkosh and helped park airplanes during the Fly-in, and they've been doing it ever since. Over the years, Post 218 has asked other Explorers to join them. These Explorers like to camp together as well as work together, and Carl worked with EAA to establish a base camp for all of the Explorers working at Oshkosh. Its been a huge success.

Carl was involved in aviation beyond the Explorers. He was a mentor in Gateway Technical College's aviation program, and developed Chapter 838's program for Technology Awareness Day, helping introduce the joy of flying to Racine's children and their families. And, of course, Carl was active in Chapter 838's Young Eagles program. For this lifetime dedication to educating everyone about all of aviation, we are proud to induct Carl Helmle into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

Ellen Baerman


Ellen Baerman is an aerospace educator whose expertise and devotion have inspired children, parents, and other educators all across Wisconsin. Ellen enrolled at a summer Aerospace Education Workshop at the University of Wisconsin River Falls in 1976, then went back to her fourth grade classroom and started using aerospace lessons for her science classes. Ultimately, she added math and English to the framework of aerospace, giving her students a complete aerospace education. Ellen's students responded well to her clever and creative methods of teaching, and she became actively involved in teacher training.

Ellen joined the Wisconsin Aerospace Education Association in 1977, becoming its president in 1982. She represented elementary schools on the Superintendent of Public Instruction's Education Advisory Committee, serving as chairperson for three years and receiving an Excellence in Education award from the FAA in 1987. Working with the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Ellen helped other elementary teachers infuse their curricula with aerospace education.

Ellen has also been active with the Civil Air Patrol. She was a Major and Wisconsin Wing Deputy Director for Aerospace Education by 1980, and an active Emergency Services Mission Director. But space was calling, and in 1985 Ellen answered by applying for NASA's Teacher in Space Program. She was one of Wisconsin's two finalists. After the Challenger disaster, she spoke to many school and youth groups about the accident and our future in space.

Ellen's professional accolades are too numerous to mention, and she continues to be involved with local, state, and national efforts to improve science education for all students. For this unstinting and uncommonly effective devotion to aerospace education, we are proud to induct Ellen Baerman into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

Fred Sommer


Racine has long been known as a center of corporate aviation, and that heritage can be traced straight back to Fred Sommer. He was the first corporate pilot of the modern era in Racine, serving as chief pilot and flight department manager for Twin Disc after World War II. During his 41 years at Twin Disc, Fred set exceptionally high standards, establishing a safety record that is unmatched to this day. He flew almost three and half million miles safely, amassing over 18,000 accident-free hours. Today, Twin Disc's flight department continues his proud tradition, still accident-free after 51,000 hours. Some say that 41 years as a corporate pilot at the same corporation is a record by itself, but there's much more to Fred's career.

Just before World War II, Fig Landremann, a 1998 inductee to the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame, and John Drydyk taught Fred to fly at the old Racine airport. Fred went to work flying for Twin Disc in September of 1941, then served in the Army Air Corps during World War II as a B-24 pilot based in Italy. He also served as a Troop Carrier Command pilot in Korea, flying the C-46 and C-119, and earned many decorations during both tours of duty.

Fred's real contributions came after 1946, when he started Racine's first post-World War II flight operation at Twin Disc. Serving as Chief Pilot and later Flight Department Manager, he was instrumental in forming the Racine Commercial Aviation Corporation, which operated the airport successfully for many years. He also set high standards for professionalism, which resulted in the safety record Twin Disc continues to be proud of. For this unmatched contribution to safe, professional aviation over 41 years, we are proud to induct Fred A. Sommer into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

1999Fern V. Fisher


The airport was the first love of Fern Fisher's life. This love made her a true pioneer, and matriarch to an aviation family spanning three generations. She was a flight instructor and a mechanic, as well as a Major in the Civil Air Patrol, and was the only woman in Racine making her full-time living from aviation in the 1930s and 40s. She was the second pilot to land at Horlick (now Batten) Field. Her aviation career eventually spanned over fifty years.

Fern learned to fly from Fig Landremann, also a Hall of Fame member, at the old Racine Airport in the 1930s. During World War II, she worked for Carlyle Godske as a primary instructor for Navy pilots, a ferry pilot, an airframe and engine mechanic, and a radio technician. After the war, Fern worked for John Sullivan at the Racine Commercial Airport Corporation and took on some administrative duties. As a mechanic, she was in constant demand for her fabric skills. As a radio technician, she worked on most of the growing fleet of corporate aircraft based in Racine, installing the latest avionics.

In the Civil Air Patrol, Fern served in the communications unit. Today, she is still an active ham radio operator. In the office, Fern made sure the operation ran smoothly day-to-day, and was always ready with a friendly greeting for visiting pilots. She continued working in the office until just a few years ago, helping first Bill Zlevor and then Dave Mann, the current airport manager. At home, Fern wasn't the only pilot in the family. Her husband Stan and son Don were pilots, and her grandson Jim is still an active aviator.

Individually, these are all significant achievements. Together, they represent an unmatched contribution to aviation in southeast Wisconsin. It is for all of these pioneering achievements that we are proud to induct Fern V. Fisher into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

John E. Sullivan


In some ways, John Sullivan made it possible for us to even have a Hall of Fame. He is the premier aviation historian in Southeast Wisconsin, recording virtually all of the aviation achievements from this area in the past 60 plus years for posterity. As an airport manager, John developed Horlick Field (now John H. Batten Airport) into one of the finest general aviation airports in the country. John started by learning to fly in 1937, then served as a cryptographer in Greenland during World War II.

After the war, he returned to his hometown of Kenosha and took a job as assistant manager of the Kenosha airport. This started over 30 years of service as an airport manager and let him capture the daily life of the airport and its inhabitants. In 1951, John became manager of the Horlick Racine Airport, and remained in that post until his retirement in 1983. Without his guidance, the airport wouldn't have grown into what it is today.

And, he had the presence of mind to record it. Neatly catalogued and computerized, John has thousands of pictures in his files. Just about every plane that landed in Racine for 32 years was captured by John's lens. He also has stories. Those too are neatly arranged, and captured verbatim from the people who lived them. John realized that someone had to act to record what happened in the air over Racine and Kenosha, and so set out to do it himself. For years he has sent out questionnaires to everyone he can think of, and then kept after them until they returned the forms.

More importantly, and much more fun, John started the airport breakfast club. This group of regulars includes pilots and mechanics dating back to OX-5 days, and they still get together to do what aviators love more than almost anything else, even if they wont admit it, eat and tell stories. For developing one of the finest general aviation airports in the country and for his unmatched dedication as an aviation historian, we are proud to induct John E. Sullivan into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

Samuel C. Johnson


Sam Johnson was a jet, seaplane, and glider pilot. He filled the time between flights with many business, educational, environmental, and civic activities, but he is first and foremost a flier. Sam recreated the exploratory flight his father made to Brazil in 1935, flying a replica Sikorsky S-38 amphibian from Racine, Wisconsin, to Fortaleza, Brazil, with his sons, Curt and Fisk. This flight was just one accomplishment in a life filled with aviation.

After graduating from college, Sam spent two years in the United States Air Force as an intelligence officer. Returning to the family business in 1954, he furthered the use of aviation as a vital business tool in a firm that had already been using corporate aircraft for decades. Today, the flight department at SC Johnson is considered a model of corporate aviation, and is an integral part of their success. Professional Pilot magazine recognized this when they named Sam a Perpetuator of Corporate Aviation in 1988.

Acutely aware that technology and the environment are equally valuable, Sam received the Charles A. Lindbergh Award in 1994 for his lifetime of contributions furthering the balance between technological advancement and environmental preservation. Before that, he was honored as Citizen of the Year in 1971 by the Racine Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Philanthropist of the Year by the National Society of Fund Raising Executives in 1980.

As a private aviator, Sam was an early supporter of EAA's Young Eagle program. He helped get the international program started, and made his own contributions monthly in Racine, flying countless Young Eagles with Chapter 838. EAA recognized his unwavering support of aviation and youth education by presenting him the Freedom of Flight Award in 1997. Nationally, Sam served on the EAA Aviation Foundation Presidents' Council, and as a Regent Emeritus for the Smithsonian Institution, home of the National Air and Space Museum.

All of this led to a flight one fall, when Sam and his sons flew 7,500 miles in a replica of the Sikorsky S-38 his father used to explore the Brazilian rain forest 63 years earlier. The 1998 flight was a voyage of adventure, discovery, and friendship, every bit as significant as the first trip. It is for this lifetime of contributions to aviation, based in Racine but felt around the world, that we are proud to induct Samuel C. Johnson into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

1998Elmo Halverson


He was an Instructor, World War II transport pilot and corporate pilot. Elmo established the Flight Department at J.I. Case Corporation, then moved to S.C. Johnson & Son in 1959. He retired from S.C. Johnson as Chief Pilot. Halverson taught his two sons to fly, and one, Lauren, ended up as a 747 Captain for Northwest.

Pacific J. "Fig" Landremann


As a pilot, Fig Landremann cut a dashing figure. Contemporary photographs show him with his helmet and goggles, looking like the perfect Hollywood version of a pilot. Fig was also a perfect gentleman, and he earned his reputation as one of the best instructors around. While the 1920s and '30s were a romantic time in aviation, but they were a lousy time to make a living at it, and Fig also worked at Western Publishing for several years. After learning to fly from Ed Hedeen at the old Air City airport in Sturtevant, Fig rapidly earned a full commercial license. He became known as "The Jimmy Doolittle of Air City," and barnstormed a bit, participated in air races, flew the mail, did some charter flying, spent years as an instructor, and later was a corporate pilot for the Jacobsen Manufacturing Company.

During an air race at Air City, Fig had an unfortunate midair collision with Steve Hanson--who later owned a funeral home in Racine--and wrecked Ed Hedeen's Waco F biplane. Fig emerged with only a few scratches, but the Waco was destroyed. Determined to pay for the airplane somehow, Fig attempted to set a record for consecutive parachute jumps in one day. He injured an ankle after one of his first jumps, but pressed on for the record. The attempt finally ended when a gust caught him on one landing. He was knocked unconscious, and took weeks to recover and start flying again.

As World War II approached, Fig served as the chief flight instructor for the Racine Flying Service, based at Horlick-Racine Airport. He taught every level of student, from primary cadets to future instructors. Hundreds of aviators became safe, professional pilots by living up to the high standards Fig set. After the war, Fig became a corporate pilot for the Jacobsen Manufacturing Company. He met and married Gwen Fuller, herself a pilot, and together they operated Be-bee's Restaurant. It seemed that every day, someone would walk in and say "Hi Fig! Remember me? You taught me how to fly." which is perhaps the greatest memory of Fig Landreman. It is with pride that we induct Pacific J. (Fig) Landremann into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

John K. Moody


John didn't intend to be the father of an industry, nor did he imagine himself as one of the last pioneers in aviation. No, he was a hang glider pilot frustrated by the flat terrain and nonexistent winds around Kansasville, Wisconsin. John taught himself to fly in an Icarus II hang glider that he built in the mid 1970s. It wasn't long before he realized that the local topography was all wrong for his sport. Hang gliders need big hills and steady winds so their pilots can take off, climb, and soar. The closest thing to a big hill with steady winds around here are the cliffs along Lake Michigan, which are not the ideal flying site. So, to get in some more flying time, and keep his feet dry, John got creative. He mounted a two cycle, 12.5 horsepower McCulloch engine fitted with a small propeller to the back of his Icarus II. This allowed him to take off from level ground and climb for about 30 minutes, then turn the engine off and soar. And that's exactly what he did for the first time on March 15, 1975. That first flight, from the frozen surface of Long Lake, ultimately made John Moody the Father of Ultralight Aviation.

The first ultralight weighed about 90 pounds. John made his take-offs by firing up that little engine, picking up the whole airplane, then running like crazy for a dozen or so steps. He'd climb slowly to about 1,000 feet, cruise along at 26 miles per hour, then glide back down to a stand-up landing. John wrote about his new machine in the February, 1976 issue of Sport Aviation, and started a sensation. That summer, he trailered the ultralight to Oshkosh and demonstrated it to appreciative crowds at the Fly-In. The sensation grew. By 1978, there were powered hang gliders everywhere.

The Federal Aviation Administration decided that these aircraft did not need to be registered, and that their pilots did not need licenses. Progress was rapid, and evolution began toward the ultralights we have today. The first evolutionary step was the addition of a reduction unit to the engine, so that larger, more efficient propellers could be used. Speeds moved up to about 30 mph. Then came wheels. Pilots of these slightly faster, heavier, more capable machines didn't like making a mad dash on every takeoff run.

Along the way, John set several records. He was the first to make a non-stop cross country flight of over 100 miles in a powered hang glider. He was also the first to climb to over 8,000 feet, again under power. At the same time, the hobby was turning into a business. John founded Ultralight Flying Machines of Wisconsin and suddenly he was an aircraft manufacturer. Many other companies also entered the business, and ultralights grew ever bigger, heavier, and more complicated. They also got more expensive, moving away from John's original dream of flight for the common man. By 1984, he was out of the ultralight business, and back to being an engineer for earthbound companies.

Since then ultralights have taken the entire world by storm, thanks to the pioneering efforts of John Moody, the Father of Ultralight Aviation. It is with pride that we induct John K. Moody into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

1996Carlyle E. Godske


Carlyle Eugene Godske was born in Racine, Wisconsin on August 23, 1895. Lasting tribute to his contribution to aviation in Southeast Wisconsin is the very existence today of Batten Airport. His many civic activities often coincided with his aviation activities, at a time when flying of any sort was new and mysterious. A true aviation pioneer, Carlyle learned to fly in 1928. Shortly after that, he was a pilot for Racine Airways, making routine business flights from Racine to Indianapolis, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Toronto. These flights were well chronicled in the Racine Journal-Times, and this coverage helped convince the public that flying could be a safe, convenient way to travel.

In 1932 Carlyle was named manager of the old Racine Airport, located about a mile west of Sturtevant. Throughout the 1930s, Carlyle actively promoted aviation, serving as an instructor, airport manager, charter operator, and aircraft dealer. At the same time he was involved in the family business, the Godske Company, makers of awnings and other canvas products. The Journal-Times from 1936 carries several mentions of Carlyle's good works using an airplane. He started the year searching corn fields from the air, looking for an award winning, but lost, model airplane. Later he was called on to fly a seven month old baby from Racine to Chicago for emergency surgery. He closed out the year speaking about aviation careers to fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth graders at the Racine Library.

Carlyle was also active in the American Legion, and promoted aviation and membership in the Legion jointly. By 1938 he was Aviation Chairman of the Wisconsin American Legion, and organized statewide flights on Armistice Day as part of a membership drive. At the same time, Carlyle was active with the National Aeronautic Association, serving in many leadership roles with state and local chapters of the organization.

Recognizing the need for a municipal airport in Racine, Carlyle worked with community leaders to develop Horlick-Racine Airport, which is now know as Batten Field. The Batten Realty Company was formed by Carlyle, Percy Batten, A.J. Horlick, and H.F. Johnson to build and operate "without cost to the Racine public, a modern airport, equipped with every facility" on the north side of the city. The project was announced in July of 1940, and on July 7, 1941 the Racine Flying Service moved to and began operating the Horlick-Racine Airport.

During World War II, an extensive pilot training program operated from Horlick-Racine Airport, housing students at the DeKoven Foundation. After the War, he was named chairman of the Wisconsin Aeronautics Advisory Board, charged with developing a comprehensive policy for aviation in the state. Carlyle remained active as the manager of Horlick-Racine Airport until the Racine Commercial Airport Corporation was formed in 1950, and took over the operation of the airport. Carlyle remained a shareholder and member of the board for the rest of his life.

As an early pilot and long-time promoter of aviation, Carlyle Godske proved that flying was fun, safe, and useful. Many aviation careers began with a job offer from Carlyle, and it is for this lifetime of achievement, exemplified by today's Batten International Airport, that we are proud to induct him into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

Paul A. Johns


As a youngster in Indiana, Paul Johns would lie in the weeds on the edge of a farm field with a home made windsock on a pole. When he saw a plane from the nearby Navy training base, Paul would put up the windsock and watch the planes land in the field. While he enjoyed the private airshow, the owner of the field wasn't very happy! This was the start of Paul's aviation career.

In July of 1929, at the age of 15, Paul made his first glider flight. He went on to become president of his high school gliding club in Waukegan, Illinois, and later served as test pilot for the Mead glider the club assembled from a kit. In July of 1931, Paul soloed in a powered airplane, after only 45 minutes of instruction--not counting his two years in gliders, of course. Paul went on to earn Private, Commercial, and Transport licenses.

His day job was at Curtiss Field, now the Glenview Naval Air Station, where one of his neighbors was Bill Lear. At the time, Lear was developing radios, autopilots, and other avionics. This sparked another lifelong passion in Paul--his love of electronics. Married in 1934, Paul and Elvie took a flying honeymoon in a Fairchild biplane. By 1936, Paul had earned his Transport license, and so was able to instruct students. He rented airplanes on the weekend from Ruth Harman, and was an instructor from 1936 to 1939. One of Paul's students for the Transport license was Ruth Harman.

Paul's day job at this time was as an airframe and engine mechanic, working in the Navy Reserve. He was the only man on the base with a Transport license, an airframe and engine mechanic's license, and a radio license, so he was chosen to set up and run a Link Trainer school, giving instrument instruction to Navy pilots. This was in the early days of instrument flying, and eventually led to a job with United Airlines, running their Link Trainer school. Although Paul really wanted to fly DC-3s on the line, he was told he was too short to pass the flight physical!

About this same time Pan American Airlines was starting a new division called Pan American Air Ferries, to deliver military aircraft from the United States to England and Africa. Although pilots were available, none of them had instrument flying experience, and Paul was offered a job setting up a Link Trainer and instrument flight school for Pan Am Air Ferries. He took that job in 1939. After World War II started, Paul remained with Pan Am. He continued as an instrument instructor and check pilot, then was finally able to become a line pilot--flying DC-3s from Miami to South America.

When World War II started, the only airplanes capable of flying the long distances in the Pacific Ocean were Pan Am Boeing 314 flying boats--the famous Clippers. These were all taken over by the Navy, but still flown with Pan Am crews. In 1944, Paul went to San Francisco and flew Consolidated PB2Y3s and Boeing 314s across the Pacific. Pan Am had very strict training requirements for their pilots, which took five years to complete. Part of the course was in navigation, and the test was to complete a round-trip as navigator. Paul's navigation check flight took him from San Francisco to Honolulu, Kanton Island, the Fiji Islands, and then to Auckland, New Zealand. And back. He passed.

In 1946, Paul and his family moved back to the Midwest. He wanted to be around his wife and baby daughter more, and the long flights of an airline pilot did not allow this. So, Paul worked as an instructor, dabbled in electronics, and eventually went to work for Elmo Halverson at the Case Company as a corporate pilot, flying Twin Beeches, in 1950. By 1955, Harold Kaiser, chief pilot for Walker Manufacturing Company and a 1995 inductee into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame, hired Paul. Once again, Paul was flying DC-3s.

There is a mandatory age 60 retirement rule for airline pilots, and most corporations followed that same rule for their flight departments. Faced with this rule, Paul was transferred to Walker's research department, and remained there until his retirement in 1977. After retirement he started a full time radio business, drawing on his unique skills, understanding of, and long experience with aircraft radios. In 1989 he decided to build an airplane. That was the one thing that Paul had not yet done in aviation--build and fly his own plane. After a careful search, he settled on the Kitfox, and flew it for the next six years.

In November, 1995, at the age of 82 and after 66 years of flying, Paul decided to sell the Kitfox and concentrate on more earthly things, like Ham radios and computers. It is for this lifetime of flying, his pioneering instrument flight instruction, and mastery as a radio technician that we are proud to induct Paul Arnold Johns into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

Ruth Harman Walraven


Ruth Harman was the first female commercial pilot in Wisconsin, the first woman to own an airport in the state, and the first aircraft dealer in Wisconsin. She is now the first woman to be inducted into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame. Ruth's interest in aviation started in high school, and continued for 35 years. During that time she was an instructor, charter pilot, airport manager, airport owner, and aircraft dealer, all in Kenosha.

Contemporary newspaper accounts invariably picture a glamorous, smiling Ruth, the daring aviatrix posing with one of her big biplanes. She earned her license on March 16, 1932, and so was a friend and contemporary of Amelia Earhart. As a licensed female pilot in the 1930s, Ruth was a member of a very exclusive club. For the first few years of her career, Ruth flew "acrobatics" in various exhibitions and "air circuses" around the state. By 1936, she owned her first plane, a Taylor Cub. In 1938, Ruth became the first woman in the country to fly an airmail route, during National Airmail Week. All during this time, Ruth was actively promoting aviation safety, and lecturing about aviation.

In 1940, Ruth purchased the buildings at the old Kenosha airport, and leased the land, making her the first female airport manager in Wisconsin. About this same time, she began a flight training school for Naval aviators. Harman Aviation Service ultimately trained pilots for the Navy and the Army throughout World War II, making Ruth one of the first women to train military pilots--and one of the toughest check pilots the cadets would ever face. In 1943, she married Herbie Walraven, the pilot who had given Ruth her first airplane ride many years earlier. They ran the airport and raised their family together, until Herbie's death in 1952.

By 1957, Kenosha was building a new airport, and Ruth had remarried and moved to California. Once there, she gave up flying and turned her attention to her family. As an early pilot, instructor, airport manager, and airplane dealer, Ruth Harman led the way for many women in aviation. We are proud to induct this pioneer into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

1995Harold K. Kaiser


From barnstorming in a Waco to organizing one of the first corporate aviation departments in Racine, Harold Kaiser has always set and maintained the highest standards of safety and professionalism.

Harold learned to fly at Air City Airport in Sturtevant, soloing in an OXX6 powered Swallow on June 25, 1934. He earned his private pilot's license on November 24, 1935, and had a limited commercial license in July of 1936. From that point on, he was a professional pilot, giving rides--both to guests and paying customers, according to his original logbook--then working as a flight instructor and barnstormer. From 1934 to 1939, Harold and his brother Carl flew a Waco 10 they restored, then added a Waco ASO to the fleet in 1936. They purchased the ASO at a sheriff's auction in 1936, keeping it until 1940.

Harold's barnstorming activities included giving sight-seeing rides, flight instruction, acrobatic demonstrations (as they were known then), and flying in air races for spectators around the state, but he kept his base in Racine.

By 1940, Harold was instructing in Stearman PT-13Bs from Curtiss Airport in Glenview, Illinois as a civilian instructor for the Army Air Corps. He moved to Georgia in September of 1940, and spent the war years instructing in Georgia and Texas. Commissioned in 1942, he flew many types of aicraft--his fourth logbook includes entries for B-25 bombers, P-40 fighters, and the whole range of primary, basic and advanced trainers, both single and multi-engined. Harold was back home in Racine in 1946, and kept flying. At this time, he became the chief pilot for Walker Manufacturing, starting with a surplus Beechcraft AT-7, and moving up to include a DC-3. In many ways, this marked the start of professional corporate aviation in Racine, where aircraft were used for serious transportation.

In 1950 Harold was recalled to active duty, and his fifth log book--there are eight total--includes over 1,000 hours as a C-46 pilot in the "Far East Theatre on the Korean Airlift" from November, 1950 through May, 1952. He earned the Korean Service Medal with three Bronze Stars, the UN Medal, and the Air Medal for 75 missions in Korea. Capt. Kaiser also earned his Senior Pilot wings in Korea.

By August, 1952, he was back at Walker as chief pilot, where he remained until his retirement on August 31, 1971, with 17,801 total hours. At the time of his retirement, Harold was flying a Fairchild F-27 for Tenneco.

After his retirement, Harold continued to freelance for local firms, and flew everything from Beech Barons to Cessna Citations. Throughout his career, from biplanes to jets, Harold maintained a perfect safety record, with no violations of any Federal Aviation Regulations.

Harold Kaiser is unique, serving both as a role model for several generations of young pilots throughout his career, and as the barnstormer who introduced aviation to the citizens of Racine in the 1930s. For these reasons, we are proud to induct Harold Kaiser into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

John H. Batten


John H. Batten loved flying. It was his favorite recreational activity, which he often combined with his second passion, big game hunting. He was also a co-founder the Racine Commercial Airport Corporation in 1938, which operates what is now Batten Airport. Originally known as Horlick Field, the airport was renamed in his honor in September of 1989. John retired as the chairman of the board in 1989, shortly before his death.

Perhaps more important was John's passion for aviation in all its forms. He purchased a Piper Super Cub in 1964, flying it until 1988. This was no ordinary Super Cub, either--it was on floats, fully equipped for instrument flying. In addition to the Super Cub, John owned a homebuilt Starduster biplane, a 1937 Waco YKS cabin biplane, a Cessna 206A, and a Beechcraft Baron over the years. He began flying in 1937, and held a commercial license with single and multi-engine airplane land and sea ratings, along with instrument, glider, and helicopter ratings. Additionally, John held a Swiss Special Flying Permit for more than 20 years. In 51 years of flying, he accumulated almost 11,000 hours, including 960 seaplane hours. He was a member of the Seaplane Pilots Association and the Quiet Birdmen.

Corporately, John Batten was pilot in command for Twin Disc Incorporated, whose fleet included Beechcraft King Airs and a Cessna 500 Citation. He established the first professional corporate flight department in Racine in 1945, purchasing a surplus Cessna UC-78 and hiring Fred Somer as chief pilot. He joined Twin Disc, Incorporated in 1935 and was named the company's president and chief executive officer in 1948. He was elected chairman-chief executive officer in 1976, retiring from the position of chief executive officer in 1983.

During World War II, he was a charter member of the Wisconsin Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, joining in December of 1941, and flying anti-submarine patrol off St. Simons Island, Georgia in a Stinson Model 10A. Through the years, he rose to the rank of Colonel, and progressed through the Civil Air Patrol organization as Southeast Wisconsin Group Commander, Deputy Wing Commander, Wing Commander, Deputy Great Lakes Regional Commander, Regional Commander, and National Executive Board Member--Great Lakes Region.

Finally, John Batten served for many years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Experimental Aircraft Association Foundation. The board room in Oshkosh is named in honor of his father, Percy H. Batten. It is for this lifetime of dedication to aviation, and the many people he shared this passion with, that we induct John H. Batten into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

Paul H. Poberezny


Paul Poberezny is best known as the founder of the Experimental Aircraft Association. He founded the EAA in 1953, running it from the basement of his Hales Corners home. Together with his wife Audrey, he nurtured the EAA until it became the internationally known and respected organization it is today. As a youngster, Paul built model airplanes, completely restoring a Waco Primary Glider and teaching himself to fly at the age of 16. His powered solo came in 1938, at the controls of a Porterfield.

By the age of 20, he started his military career as an instructor in the Army Air Corps. This career spanned almost 30 years, and included tours as a pilot, test pilot, and combat pilot in Korea. When he retired from the Air National Guard with the rank of Colonel, Paul had earned all seven wings the military offers--the first and only person to accomplish that feat. In all, Paul has flown 364 different types of aircraft, logging over 27,500 hours in the air. He has also designed and built more than 15 different airplanes.

As founder and the first president of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Paul has worn many hats. He organized the First Annual EAA Fly-In Convention at Curtiss-Wright Airport in Milwaukee, continued working as it expanded to Rockford, Illinois, and finally landed at Oshkosh, becoming the biggest aviation event in the world. At the same time, he was developing the EAA Air Museum Foundation in Franklin, Wisconsin. Responsible for outreach programs, research and development, educational programs, and the annual EAA Fly-In Convention, the Foundation also grew to include the world's largest private collection of aircraft and aviation related artifacts, which are now housed in Oshkosh.

But the EAA is more than the Oshkosh Fly-In and Museum. Early in the movement, EAA Chapters were established. Ray Stits started the first one, in Riverside, California, in 1953, and Chapter 838 was started in Racine in 1984. Today, there are over 1,000 Chapters, and it is the Chapter network that provides local activities for EAA members and aviation enthusiasts around the world. It is also the reason we are gathered here tonight. The organization founded by Paul Howard Poberezny in the basement of his home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has grown far beyond his--or anyone's--wildest dreams.

The Experimental Aircraft Association has become the spiritual home for everyone who loves aviation. And through its Chapters, the EAA allows these lovers of aviation to share that passion, and introduce the joy of flight in all its many forms to newcomers. We do this continually at Chapter 838, from our monthly meetings, to Young Eagles flights, to Aviation Explorer meetings, because of the dream Paul had 42 years ago. For this, we thank him, and induct him into the Southeast Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.