This year the Arkansas Aviation Historical Society will induct four new members into the prestigious Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame.
Gwen Batie Blue
Gwen Ann Weaver was born on November 3, 1946, in Rogers, Arkansas.
Blue became a Private Pilot November 8, 1973. How ironic that on the same day 45 years later she would be inducted into the Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame! She continued building hours flying.
Cornelius Robinson Coffey
Cornelius Robinson Coffey was the first African American to establish an aeronautical school in the United States. His school was also the only aviation program not affiliated with a university or college to become part of the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP).
Ernest Ambort was born on November 7, 1922, in Little Rock Arkansas. He enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Force on September 17, 1942, and was commissioned a 2nd Lt. and awarded his pilot wings at Williams Field, Arizona, on January 7, 1944.
Dr. Jerry Robinson
Dr. Jerry Robinson served as a missionary pilot in Brazil, as an instructor for Flight Safety, as a demo pilot for Cessna in the Cessna 441 and 425, and as the Flight Training Supervisor for Cessna Aircraft Company's Air Transport Department.
IN 2017 the Arkansas Aviation Historical Society chose three worthy aviators to induct into the Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame.
Born in Warren, Arkansas in 1948, Zane has been an aviator his entire life. After teaching himself how to fly, Zane has served in multiple capacities: owner, operator, flight instructor, mechanic, Designated Pilot Examiner and mentor to many who desired a career in aviation. Zane is rated in gliders and sea planes as well as hot air balloons. He has been the leading helicopter operator in the state since forming his company, Aerial Patrol, Inc. in 1983. He has flown for hospitals, TV stations, law enforcement and for over thirty years conducted powerlinepatrol and other hazardous operations for Entergy Arkansas.
Born in Saline County in 1935, Harold served as Pilot and flight instructor from 1955 to 1965 when he joined Southern Airways as an airline pilot. In 1972, while serving as copilot on a DC-9, his flight was hijacked and after thirty hours and multiple stops ended in Cuba. Although Johnson was wounded by a hijacker, none the passengers were injured. Harold was the founder of the Wings of Honor Museum in Walnut Ridge and has served as President to this day.
Born in Hot Springs, Arkansas in 1925, Smith flew combat missions in Korea - being wounded on his 97th mission. Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Silver Star for gallantry, General Smith served as Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers, Europe (SHAPE) and later Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. European Command. He died on January 19, 2016. His distinguished career is outlined here.
Kerrick Hartman is attending Henderson State University and pursuing a Professional Pilot Degree. Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, he moved to Arkansas at age 4 and lives in Stuttgart, Arkansas. After developing a fascination with Ag Pilots as a young man, Kerrick fell in love with aviation. He hopes to become an ATP Pilot.
Abigail Shackelford is originally from Smithville, Arkansas, where she lives with her family on a small farm. Currently attending Ozarka College with a major in Aviation Science, Abigail is pursuing an Associate’s of Science degree and her Private Pilot license. After graduation in December, she plans to transfer to The College of Missionary Aviation in Jacksonville, Florida, to train for a future as a missionary pilot, flying supplies to missionaries and charitable organizations in remote areas of the world.
Patrick Jimenez was born and raised in Russellville. He is a senior Aviation major at Henderson State University. Currently a private pilot with an instrument rating, he is working on his commercial license. Patrick serves as the Vice President for the Alpha Eta Rho, fraternity at HSU, and has an 18 month old son named Raiden.
Austin Nufer lives in in Russellville. Long story short, he's been tremendously influenced by Jim Stamps (a 2004 inductee into the Hall of Fame). When Austin learned about programs at Henderson State University offering a four year Professional Pilot Degree he knew that was the place for him. While attending Henderson State University he has gained his Private Pilot, and Instrument ratings. Austin plans to finish his Commercial License and work as a CFI.
Each year, the Arkansas Aviation Historical Society seeks out and rewards drive, determination, and ability by selecting scholarship recipients from across the State of Arkansas.
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