The West Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame honors pioneers and leaders in the aviation industry who have made significant contributions to the development, advancement or promotion of aviation and have close ties to the State of West Virginia.
Nominations may be made by any firm, organization or individual familiar with the nominee’s achievements. Nominees must meet certain criteria as established by the WV Airport Managers Association (WVAMA). The selection committee is composed of the President of the WVAMA, the Chairman of the West Virginia Aeronautics Commission, the Director of the West Virginia Aeronautics Commission, a WVAMA Corporate Board Member, and three appointed WVAMA Members.
The West Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame is located in the terminal building of the North Central West Virginia Airport in Clarksburg, WV. Each inductee is honored by having a descriptive plaque praising their contributions to West Virginia aviation.
Earl Thomas Halloran was born July 1, 1896 in Hinton, West Virginia, to a prominent railroad family. He was known to be an intelligent man with many talents including a knack for flying. Halloran attended West Virginia University to study Engineering before the eruption of World War I. Upon announcement of the United States’ involvement in the war, he decided to enlist in the U.S. Army where he was assigned to the U.S. Army Signal Corps to become a pilot. His flight training at Rich Field in Waco, Texas exposed his natural ability to aviate. He successfully soloed after just four and a half hours of flight instruction in a Curtiss JN-4D aircraft (aka “Jenny”) and was commissioned a First Lieutenant in March of 1918. Instead of being sent overseas, he was retained as a flight instructor because of his flying expertise and radio skills. In addition to flight instructing, he trained his students on various positions, such as gunner and mechanic, to ensure they could be cross-utilized in the aircraft. Halloran remained a flight instructor for the duration of the war. With his training and guidance, his students went on to assist the Allied Powers in defeating the enemy.
At the conclusion of the war, Halloran returned to Hinton where he formed the Hinton Aero Club. He purchased a surplus "Jenny” aircraft by soliciting funds from local individuals. The “Jenny” was then used by the Aero Club to barnstorm across the state carrying passengers and thrill seekers alike. Halloran’s barnstorming days were halted in August of 1919 when he was hired by the Island Creek Coal Company to “scout” the area and provide aerial information on the location of 5,000 armed miners planning a march in order to unionize. At the most volatile point of the miners’ unionization efforts, Halloran was made a captain of a group of five other aircraft hired by the coal company and prepared homemade bombs to drop if necessary to thwart any attack on law enforcement personnel. Countless lives were saved with the aerial information Halloran provided.
Earl Halloran’s aviator days were not without incident. He once survived an accident in Logan after clipping wires during takeoff and, ultimately, it was a nose dive into a fence at the end of a cornfield that effectively ended his flying career when it was determined that his aircraft was damaged beyond repair. Unable to secure capital to purchase a new aircraft, he sought other opportunities to earn a living and started a bus service, automobile dealership and the first cable TV company in Hinton, WV. His contributions to aviation in the state of West Virginia and abroad lives on. Earl Halloran was believed to be the first registered pilot in the state, a fact many support. The unfortunate state capitol building fire in 1921 destroyed the proof of this honor. He was a respected businessman with interests beyond aviation too numerous to encapsulate on this plaque. The State of West Virginia honors his accomplishments and recognizes him for his contributions both here and abroad.
Born August 24, 1936 in Beatrice, West Virginia, Eldon J. Haught grew up harboring an interest in aviation. His love for aviation would come back to serve the flying community in more ways than one. Upon graduating, Haught worked in the oil and gas industry before becoming co-owner of Alfab Inc., among other successful business ventures. His business insight was second to none and leaders throughout the area recognized this by appointing him to numerous boards where he served dutifully.
It was in August 1977 that Haught successfully soloed in a Cessna 152 and in 1978 he became an official certificated private pilot finally fulfilling his lifelong dream. It was not long after in 1982 that Governor Rockefeller appointed Haught to the State Aeronautics Commission. His understanding of aviation, coupled with his keen sense of business, ensured the Commission was able to provide the maximum financial support to the state’s airports for the benefit of the public. Haught was so devoted in his endeavors that the Commission repeatedly elected him Chairman. He ensured meetings were accessible to all airports throughout the state and made them available by rotating the meetings among airports to provide the greatest accessibility as possible. The rotation also allowed the airports to showcase their strengths as well as their needs to the Commissioners firsthand.
One of Haught’s greatest accomplishments while serving on the Commission included obtaining the Fire Fighter Training Simulator for commercial service airports in the state. Simply obtaining the simulator was not enough for Haught. He went a step further and supported the annual cost to maintain the simulator relieving airports of this financial burden. Search and rescue was also of importance to Haught who took a personal interest in ensuring other individual’s safety stemming from a tragedy. In 1964, Haught helped establish the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department—a cause which became dear to him after his son was killed fighting a fire with the fire department. This gave life to a scholarship fund that has helped more than 70 Ritchie County families and guided an outlook that included supporting the state of West Virginia’s funding the Civil Air Patrol.
To list all of Haught’s accomplishments is not possible on one plaque. Notable awards bestowed upon Haught include the 2003 Jefferson Award for Community Service, the 2014 Ritchie County DAR Award for Community Service, and becoming an honorary graduate of the University of Hard Knocks at Alderson Broaddus University in 2008. The State of West Virginia is honored to recognize Eldon Haught’s contributions to aviation and thanks him for his loyal commitment to the furthering of aeronautics.
Born February 26, 1925 in Weirton, West Virginia, Angelo Koukoulis is a distinguished aviation professional who has been honored with numerous accolades throughout his career.
Upon graduating high school, Koukoulis enrolled in General Airmotive Technical School where he received his Federal Aviation Administration Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic certificate in 1943. Koukoulis was soon inducted into the Army Air Corps as a P47 fighter mechanic, serving from 1943-1945. His unit, the 48th Fighter Bomber Group 494 Squadron 9th Air Corps, arrived in Normandy 12 days after D-Day, providing much needed aircraft support at the airstrip located closest to the beaches. Following his Army discharge, he attended WVU and was employed by the University to oversee aircraft maintenance operations. He obtained his private pilot’s license in Morgantown, West Virginia in 1947.
He was appointed by the FAA as a Designated Aircraft Maintenance Inspector in February 1949. A new opportunity presented itself two years later when Koukoulis was invited, by what is now the Harrison County Commission, to operate a fixed base operation at Benedum Airport, now known as the North Central West Virginia Airport (CKB). His company, AeroMech, Inc., was the first Federal Aviation Administration radio repair station in the state. Koukoulis instituted an accredited course in career aviation through a local college and introduced the “buddy concept” for flight training, first used by the West Virginia University ROTC program and later adopted nationwide. In 1980 he founded West Virginia’s first fully certificated passenger airline, AeroMech Airlines, serving 23 cities in 7 states.
AeroMech, Inc. operated for 35 years as a Cessna dealer and a Cessna pilot center and at its peak, employed more than 250 personnel before merging AeroMech Airlines with Wright Airlines of Cleveland in 1983. Koukoulis was also instrumental in furthering the aviation industry by serving as a founding member and the first treasurer of the Regional Airlines Association of America, as well as serving as the Airport Manager of Benedum Airport for 22 years.
Today, Koukoulis’ legacy lives on through KCI Enterprises, Inc., known as KCI Aviation, an aircraft maintenance and repair organization. He has received various awards including the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic award in 1998. The State of West Virginia is proud to honor Angelo Koukoulis for his accomplishments in the field of aviation.
Born February 5, 1910 in Huntington, West Virginia, Irene I. Crum was a pioneering female in aviation. With a curious passion for aviation, she successfully completed her first solo flight in 1936. Her aircraft of choice was an Aeronca C-2, unofficially dubbed “the flying bathtub” given the unique contours of the fuselage. Wanting to showcase what she could do with the aircraft, Crum flew to 19,423 feet, setting the altitude record for a two-cylinder aircraft. The flight itself was historic but making it even grander was the fact that Crum only had 40 solo hours of flying experience when she completed the flight. She had taken up flying a mere 14 months earlier.
Crum went on to become a member of the historic Women’s Air Force Service Pilots, or WASPs in World War II after graduating from Marshall College, or Marshall University as it is known today. Crum went on to become a flight instructor on behalf of the U.S. Government in Brazil.
Later on in life she returned to the U.S. and taught in Jacksonville, Florida before returning home in West Virginia. At the time of her death on April 9, 1977, the woman’s altitude record for a two-cylinder record had not been broken. The State of West Virginia recognizes her contributions to aviation and honors her memory.
Jon A. McBride was born August 14, 1943 in Charleston, West Virginia. Though his aviation accomplishments are many, he is best known for being a NASA Astronaut.
McBride's service began in 1965 when he earned his wings as a naval aviator and was assigned to Fighter Squadron 101 based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia, for training in the F-4 "Phantom II" aircraft. He was subsequently assigned to Fighter Squadron 41 where he served three years as a fighter pilot and division officer having flown 64 combat missions. He attended the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base then reported to Air Test and Development Squadron Four at Point Mugu, California where he served as maintenance officer and Sidewinder project officer.
McBride became a NASA astronaut in 1979 after being selected as an astronaut candidate the year before. His NASA assignments included lead chase pilot for the maiden voyage of Columbia. McBride was pilot of STS 41-G, which launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on October 5, 1984, aboard the Orbiter Challenger. Following the tragic events of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986, his next mission was deferred and McBride was assigned to serve as Assistant Administrator for Congressional Relations at NASA Headquarters. In May 1989, Captain McBride retired from NASA and the Navy having logged more than 8,800 hours in over 40 different types of military and civilian aircraft. His FAA ratings include commercial pilot (multi-engine), instrument, and glider; and he previously served as a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI).
The awards for his accomplishments and contributions include the Legion of Merit award, the Defense Superior Service medal, the Navy Commendation medal with Combat V, a Navy Unit Commendation, the National Defense medal, the Vietnamese Service medal, and the NASA Space Flight Medal. The State of West Virginia is honored to induct him into the Hall of Fame and appreciates his contribution to aviation.
Born on December 7, 1918 in Braxton County, West Virginia, James Kemp McLaughlin grew up not in the world of aviation, but in the world of agriculture as a son of a farmer. He only considered a career in aviation after the Army Air Corps testing team visited West Virginia University in 1938 while he was attending college. Successfully passing the test he was too young to enlist without parental consent which he did not have. It would be another year before he reached the age of 21 and was able to enlist under his own accord, without parent approval.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, McLaughlin was deployed to England as a co-pilot and Second Lieutenant in the Mighty Eight’s 92nd Bombardment Group flying the famous B-17 bomber. After flying 39 combat missions and numerous “close calls”, he was ordered back to the U.S. in 1945 where he accepted a commission as a Lieutenant Colonel. He was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, with three clusters, the U.S. Army Air Corps Air medal with eight clusters, the French Croix de Guerre, and a Presidential unit citation. He finished his service in June 1946 at which time he and his wife, Constance Bailey, returned to Charleston, West Virginia with plans to return to civilian life. Those plans were altered in 1947 however, after the Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard asked McLaughlin to serve as the First Commander of the state’s Air National Guard squadron. In 1951 the squadron was federalized for active duty in the Korean War. Following the unit’s service in the Korean War, McLaughlin was promoted to full Colonel and was appointed to Assistant Adjutant General. He was eventually promoted to Brigadier General in 1962 before retiring from the military in 1977.
McLaughlin also enjoyed public service and served on many government branches; helping affect change and laws over the country he was sworn to protect. He became a Kanawha County Commissioner from 1963 to 1968 and was appointed into the West Virginia House of Delegates from 1974 to 1976. McLaughlin contributed his life to service in both the aviation and public sectors in West Virginia and we are proud to honor him.
Born on February 9, 1940 in Keyser, West Virginia, C. William “Bill” Pancake Jr. discovered early in his life that he possessed a great mechanical inclination. His love for aviation began as a child when he would often ride his bike to the Keyser Airport where he would help out in exchange for spending money. It was on his 16th birthday that Pancake piloted his first aircraft alone.
Since receiving his private pilot’s license in 1957, he has gone on to additional ratings including: commercial, instrument, Multi-engine, Airframe and PowerPlant (A&P) with Inspection Authorization (IA) and is a Certified Flight Instructor. He began his work restoring and repairing small aircraft in the late 1950’s with Aeronca Sales and Service in Burlington, West Virginia.
After leaving the aviation industry for several years, he decided to open his own restoration shop known as Pancake Aviation in 1973. What began as a sideline business turned into a successful endeavor as his work is known worldwide; from the United States to Russia and Brazil. Pancake’s work received numerous awards at some of the largest aviation events including EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
In 2006, he received both the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award and the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award. Pancake was inducted into the EAA Vintage Hall of Fame in 2008. He has also been designated a Distinguished Mountaineer and Distinguished West Virginian.
Pancake has been a technical advisor for the National Air and Space Museum as well as a Classic Judge at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. His expertise on restoration and repairing of classic aircraft, specifically the Aeronca, is unsurpassed. The State of West Virginia honors his quest to further aviation by painstakingly and whole-heartedly restoring classic aircraft and promoting aviation across the globe.
Born January 4, 1943 in Dry Fork, West Virginia, Donald J. Judy first experienced the wonder of aviation at the age of five in a Bonanza aircraft. His father maintained a grass strip on their farmland and his love for aviation thrived. After receiving his private pilot certificate in 1962, he continued receiving additional ratings through his hard work and dedication.
Judy’s ratings range from Single Engine Land and Sea to Multi Engine Land, Rotorcraft, as well as Glider. He is a certified flight instructor on all of the previously mentioned aircraft classifications and holds an Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certificate with Inspection Authority (IA) designation.
In addition to assisting others pursue their dreams in aviation, Judy patiently and lovingly restores aircraft having overseen 10 complete rebuilt aircraft. He is also talented in the art of recovering fabric aircraft; a form in which few are currently proficient.
Judy is the recipient of the 2010 Wilbur Wright Award having been accident free for 50 years; a testimonial to Judy’s superior skillset. His contribution to aviation in West Virginia does not include military honors but is found in those students he taught as a flight instructor and the thousands of students he signed off on their check rides as a designated pilot examiner. The State of West Virginia recognizes Mr. Judy’s commitment to the betterment of aviation in the state and is proud to claim him as a West Virginian.
Born June 18, 1937 in New York City, John Davison “Jay” Rockefeller IV had a very distinguished public service career representing and governing the State of West Virginia and championing the importance of aviation along the way. Rockefeller first moved to Emmons, West Virginia in 1964 with Volunteers in Service to America where he quickly became involved in politics. He was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1966 and the office of West Virginia Secretary of State in 1968. Prior to being elected Governor of West Virginia in 1976, he served as President of West Virginia Wesleyan College. After two terms as Governor he was elected to the United States Senate representing the people of West Virginia. It was in the U.S. Senate where Rockefeller’s staunch support of aviation shined. He authored the successful Small Community Air Service Development Pilot Program which provides air service development assistance to those that qualify through the Department of Transportation. He became an outspoken leader of the Essential Air Service program, preventing drastic cuts to the program in 2012, enabling West Virginia airports to continue providing vital service to their communities. Following the tragedies of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, he was one of the co-authors of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act which led to the creation of the Transportation Security Administration.
Rockefeller was honored the Wings of Liberty award from the Aerospace Industries Association in 2006. He held numerous leadership positions including Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation where he tirelessly advocated for adequate funding for the nation’s air transportation system. Speaking engagements at industry conferences include the American Association of Airport Executives as well as the National Association of State Aviation Officials and the Aero Club of Washington.
West Virginia appreciates and honors John D. Rockefeller IV’s commitment to our state and the various efforts in which he supported aviation throughout his career.