History of the “Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame”
By Jon Ihrig, Nebraska Department of Aeronautics (March 2000)
Nebraska’s Aviation Hall of Fame was started in 1991, with the intent of preserving the memory of Nebraskans who have made outstanding contributions to aviation, and to preserve the memory of their immeasurable contributions to our state and country.
The Hall of Fame had a humble beginning. Rob Hurst, of the Air force Association, and Ed Clark, a former employee of the NE Department of Aeronautics and PIREPS editor, took it upon themselves to get the Hall started. On their own time, and using their personal resources, they presented their idea to the aviation community. They were pleasantly surprised at the positive response. Nominations were received, and a selection process was established. The Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame was born!
As the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame began to take shape, it was clear that initially, it would have a very modest existence. No plans were made to establish a permanent home for the Hall. Members of the selection committee would be asked to volunteer their time, and no fees would be assessed for submitting a nomination.
That first year saw 11 inducted into the Hall. The list of inductees has grown steadily since then. In 1993, Hurst and Clark developed a mobile display, which included photos and textual information concerning each of the inductees. Approximately 25,000 people viewed the exhibition when it first appeared at the Western Heritage Museum in Omaha that spring. Just as the display continues to expand to include each year’s inductees, so does the public’s interest in the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame.
In order to be considered for induction into the NE Aviation Hall of Fame, a person must be nominated. Nominees from all walks of life are welcome. Educators, FBO operators, military pilots, designers and manufacturers, spray pilots, airport administrators and managers, etc; each one is considered. The nominee’s achievements may have been accomplished worldwide, nationally, or within the state of NE. The nominee must be a native born Nebraskan, living or not, or one who has performed a significant portion of their achievement while being a resident of the state.
Anyone wishing to make a nomination may do so on a form that is available at the Department of Aeronautics web site at www.aero.nebraska.gov under the left side topic of Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame nomination form or click here. Induction takes place on an annual basis, and no specific quota is set for each year’s class. Nominees not selected are reconsidered the next year, and may be renominated at any time.
Those selected for induction are honored with a plaque recognizing their achievements. Their names and a record of their achievements are also permanently put on file at the NE State Historical Society. It has become tradition for an awards ceremony to be held on an annual basis in conjunction with the NE Aviation Council’s Symposium banquet held during the last week of January each year.
“How to Use”
“Click Here to visit the Hall of Fame Main Menu” to review the inductees. The inductee’s are listed in alphabetical order with the year of their induction shown in the right column. Individual pictures are included where available.