Hall of Fame Adds 4 Aviation Luminaries

Close-Up Of TrophyNational Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) recently added four names to its prestigious roster of 225 men and women — each recognized as a pioneer in air and space technology. Since the Hall of Fame’s founding in 1962, it has honored the greatest contributors to U.S. aviation. The four new members are:

  1. Robert N. Hartzell (deceased) — Hartzell, a neighbor of Orville Wright, began making wooden propellers for the Wright brothers in 1917. He supplied the propellers used on U.S. aircraft in both world wars. Postwar, his company created the lightweight, controllable propellers that spurred development in general aviation across the world.
  1. Gen. Robert L. Cardenas, USAF (Ret) — Cardenas graduated from test pilot school in 1945 after flying World War II combat as a B-24 pilot in Europe. He played an instrumental role in the supersonic, record-breaking X-1 program and was chief pilot in the XB-49 flying wing program. He was commander of both the combat wing of F-105s in Southeast Asia and Air Force Special Operations Force.
  1. Eugene “Gene” Kranz — Kranz was a fighter pilot in Korea and an Air Force flight-test engineer before joining NASA’s Space Flight Group in 1960. There, he rose through the ranks of flight operations with the progression of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. In his 37 years of service, he served as Flight Director during the Apollo 13 mission and as NASA Director of Mission Operations, with the responsibility of managing 6,000 employees and a $700 million budget.
  1. Abe Silverstein (deceased) — Silverstein was a mechanical engineer and aerodynamicist whose work contributed to improvements in World War II and early supersonic aircraft. In 1958 he transitioned from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) to NASA, serving as the agency’s first Director of the Office of Space Flight Programs. Known as the Father of Apollo, and credited with architecting the space program, his vision led to human exploration of the moon and beyond.

Each of these individuals played a groundbreaking role in the advancement of air and/or space technology.

The NAHF announced its “class of 2015” on December 16, 2014 — the eve of the anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first flight over Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903.

Facts about the NAHF

NAHF started as a nonprofit organization in Dayton, Ohio — also the home of the Wright brothers and said to be the “birthplace of aviation.” After achieving national charter status by the 88th U.S. Congress and President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, the organization become a public foundation, reporting annually to Congress (a role it continues to serve today).

The purpose of the NAHF is to preserve and memorialize the accomplishments of its honored inductees. Air and space veterans such as Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, and Neil Armstrong are all NAHF members.

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