San Diego Air and Space Museum Selects Class of 2010 for Induction into the Museum’s Hall of Fame

Aviation History | History of Flight | Aviation History Articles, Warbirds, Bombers, Trainers, Pilots | San Diego Air and Space Museum Selects Class of 2010 for Induction into the Museum’s Hall of Fame

On October 23, 2010, the San Diego Air & Space Museum is honoring national and international air & space legends at its 47th Hall of Fame Induction and Gala 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 2010”: Harrison Ford, actor, pilot, Airplane Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) spokesman and former chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) Young Eagles program; Alan Bean, Apollo 12-fourth of only twelve men to walk on the Moon; Joe Clark, Aviation Partners; Theodore Gildred and Theodore Edmonds Gildred, famed Friendship Flights to Ecuador; Linden Blue, General Atomics/Spectrum Aviation; Si Robin, Sensor Systems; Robert Mitchell, Northrop Grumman Corporation; and Steve Fossett, Aviation Adventurer and World Record Setter.

Planned for the evening of October 23, 2010 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. Special Guest Gene Cernan, last man to walk on the moon, will also be there.

“We’re especially pleased to honor the Class of 2010 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. October 23 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 Jr., 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 2010:

Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford was born July 13, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois. He began acting in high school and his early career included a few television and secondary movie roles. For a time he left acting to pursue a career as a carpenter. He then returned to the screen and was in the movie American Graffiti in 1973. Four years later in 1977 he starred as Han Solo in the Star Wars Trilogy and then in 1981 he starred as Indiana Jones in the Raiders of Lost Ark. These films solidified Ford as a major Hollywood star. Ford has won numerous acting awards and is one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Harrison Ford is a licensed air and helicopter pilot. In July 2000 Ford flew his helicopter to rescue a stranded hiker near his Wyoming ranch. In April 2009 Ford became the spokesman for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) to help promote the role of general aviation in the broader U.S. Transportation industry. He has served as honorary chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles program. Ford has been honored with the Living Legends of Aviation Legacy Award (2009), Freedom of Flight Award (2009), and the Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation Award (2003).

Alan Bean
Captain Alan Bean was born in Wheeler, Texas on March 15, 1932.  After graduating from high school he attended the University of Texas. At the University of Texas Bean was a Navy ROTC cadet and upon graduation received a commission. Bean completed flight training and was assigned to a jet attack squadron in Jacksonville, Florida. After four years he attended the Navy Test Pilot School, and flew as a test pilot for several types of Naval Aircraft. Bean was selected one of the third group of astronauts named by NASA in October 1963. He served as a backup astronaut for the Gemini 10 and Apollo 9 missions. Captain Bean was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12 and landed in the moon’s Ocean of Storms on the second manned lunar landing. After the Apollo mission Bean was commander of the Skylab II mission orbiting the earth for a then-record 59 day, 24,400,000 mile spaceflight. In total Bean spent a total of 1,671 hours and 45 minutes in space. Captain Bean retired from the Navy in 1975 but continued to work for NASA as a civilian working as head of the Astronaut Candidate Operations and Training Group. In 1981 Bean retired from NASA to devote his time to painting.

Joe Clark
Clark attended the University of Washington and immediately became active in aviation, inspired by friends like Clay Lacy and Bill Lear. In 1966, he founded Jet Air, the first Learjet dealership in the Northwest. His career in aviation grew quickly with marketing and sales assignments for Gates Learjet and the Raisbeck Group. In 1981, Clark teamed up with Milt Kuolt and Bruce McCaw to form Horizon Air, a successful regional carrier that was later sold to Alaska Airlines. Clark co-founded the Seattle-based Aviation Partners in 1991 after business tycoon Dennis Washington asked him if he could do something about extending the range of his Gulfstream II business jet. Introducing the GII to blended winglet technology reduced the drag by more than seven percent. Clark and Borge Boeskov formed Aviation Partners Boeing to explore putting winglets on 737s. Today, over 500 Boeing 737s are outfitted with blended winglets, and the company has orders for over 1,200 additional shipsets. Southwest Airlines, Continental Airlines and Alaska Airlines are just a few of the 33 major carriers in the process of upgrading to blended winglet technology. Boeskov nicknamed Clark “Lord of the Wings.”

Theodore Gildred & Ambassador Ted Gildred
Theodore Gildred Sr. was born in May of 1900 in Rochester, NY.  He grew up and was educated in Argentina and Ecuador before attending New York University.  He learned to fly in 1925 at Dutch Flats in San Diego. Inspired by Charles Lindbergh’s epic 1927 flight Gildred, Sr. took off from San Diego on March 13, 1931, in a Ryan B-5 Brougham, beginning a 19-day, 4200 mile goodwill flight to South America.  He was greeted by 15,000 spectators in Quito.   Exactly 50 years later, Gildred’s son, Ambassador Ted Gildred, Jr., recreated his father’s famous flight, using a 1943 Stinson Reliant from the collection of the Air & Space Museum. After the successful completion of the 1981 commemorative goodwill flight, the Air & Space Museum donated the aircraft to the people of Ecuador to help them establish their own museum. In 2006 Ted and his sons Ted, Jr., and Stephen flew “Ecuador III – The Spirit of Goodwill” to Ecuador to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the original flight.

Linden Blue
Linden Blue was born in 1936 in Meeker, Colorado. Blue received his B.A. degree from Yale University in 1958, and is also a graduate of the Advanced Man
agement Program of the Harvard Business School. He served on active duty with the USAF Strategic Air Command, and was a partner in a 4000-acre cocoa and banana plantation and a 100,000-acre ranch in Nicaragua. Since 1986, Linden Blue has been Vice Chairman of General Atomics in San Diego. At GA his primary responsibilities have included development of the advanced, second-generation, Modular Helium Reactor (MHR), coordination of activities in GA’s Washington, DC office, and overseeing GA’s activities at the San Diego Supercomputer Center which GA established in 1985. From 1982 to 1984, he was President and CEO of Beech Aircraft Corporation. From 1977 to 1980, he was with Gates Learjet Corporation, serving as Executive Vice President and General Manager, and earlier as head of Strategic Planning. He is currently managing director of Spectrum Aeronautical, which designs and develops high technology business jets. Other activities, past and present, include: Board of Overseers, Center for Naval Analysis; Trustee and Executive Committee, Hudson Institute; Board Member and Past President, Green Foundation (geophysics and planetary physics); Board member, National Parks Foundation; Chairman of the Airports and Airways Committee, General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

Si Robin
Seymour “Si” Robin was born in 1929 and studied electronics in College. In 1948 Robin moved to California and went to work for Douglas Aircraft working on antennas and other military parts. After leaving Douglas Robin went to work for Sensor Systems, a small company in Chatsworth, California. Sensor Systems was at the time just expanding into the antenna field. In 1970 Robin acquired the Sensor Systems and expanded its antenna production. Sensor Systems acquired large military contracts providing antennas for AWACS and KC-135 aircraft. Today Sensor Systems makes over two hundred and fifty types of antennas that are used by the majority of aircraft throughout the world. Major aviation clients include Airbus, Cessna, Boeing, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Northrop Grumman, and Honeywell. Si holds over 80 patents today. Sensor Systems is still located in Chatsworth, California and many of Robin’s extended family works for the company. Besides running the company Si Robin is an avid pilot and owns many vintage aircraft and competes in vintage automobile racings. Si received the Living Legends of Aviations Award for his lifelong accomplishments in designing antennas for commercial, business, and military aircraft.

Bob Mitchell
Mitchell began his military service as an aircraft apprentice in the Royal Air Force, thus began his lifelong association with Aviation. He was later selected to attend the RAF College, Cranwell, was commissioned, became a pilot and earned a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in Aeronautical Engineering. In 1973, he attended the United States Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where he earned a Master’s Degree with distinction in Astronautical Engineering. Mitchell joined Northrop Grumman with the acquisition of Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical, where he had served as president, in August 1999 and retired in December 2009. His last position was Sector Vice President for the Aerospace Systems Division. He was also the Corporate Lead Executive for the Army Aerial Common Sensor (ACS) program and the Navy’s EP-X program. Mitchell previously served as Sector Vice President for Special Programs at the former Integrated Systems Sector, captured several classified programs and became Corporate Lead Executive for the successful capture of the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) program. Prior to this, as Vice President of Unmanned Systems, he managed the continued development of the Global Hawk unmanned aerial system and tactical unmanned aerial vehicles, leading the team that captured and developed the Fire Scout and other unmanned systems.

Steve Fossett
Born in 1944, Steve Fossett grew up in California and received a business degree from Washington University in Missouri. The daredevil notched up more than 116 records in balloons, airplanes, sailboats, gliders and airships. At least 60 of them remain unbroken. In July 2007, Fossett was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Ohio and vowed to carry on breaking records. He disappeared on 3 September 2007, shortly after taking off for what was expected to be a brief flight in his single-engine Bellanca Super Decathlon plane from a private ranch in Yerington, Nevada. He never returned, and the largest air and ground search in US history, involving dozens of aircraft and hundreds of people over an area of 44,000 sq km (17,000 sq miles), initially failed to find him. Fossett was declared legally dead by a court in Chicago on 15 February, 2008. Some of his belongings were eventually found with skeletal remains, which DNA testing proved belonged to Fossett. He was 63 at the time of his tragic death.

The Hall of Fame Gala Celebration is scheduled for Saturday evening, October 23 in the Pavilion of Flight in the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

For more information please call (619) 234-8291 or visit


Updated: July 18, 2011 — 3:24 PM
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