Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame Names 2009 Inductees
April 9, 2009 — The Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame (WAHF) will induct five aviators, including two longtime EAA members, at a ceremony to be held this fall. Paul Johns, Gunter Voltz, John Jerstad, LaVern Reller, and Giles Meisenheimer will be honored for their achievements and contributions to aviation in Wisconsin.
Paul Johns (EAA 280702), a resident of Iola, Wisconsin, soloed a glider in 1929 and a Curtiss Pusher in 1931. He has crossed the Pacific 230 times in Consolidated PBYs and Boeing 314s. He has served as a corporate pilot, has built and flown a Kitfox, and at 95, continues to sell a VHF aircraft antenna of his own design.
Gunter Voltz (EAA 208981), of Glendale, Wisconsin, was born in Germany. Drafted in 1939, he flew a Fieseler Storch and fought on the Eastern Front until 1945. He came to Wisconsin in 1951 and started giving glider instruction at West Bend and Hartford, eventually soloing more than 400 glider pilots. He was inducted into the Soaring Society of America’s Hall of Fame and in 2008, received the FAA’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award.
LaVern Reller served as chief pilot for the State of Wisconsin and flew seven governors during his tenure. He built a Smith Mini and flew it for 30 years. Reller passed away in 1995.
Racine native John Jerstad was a B-24 pilot in the Ploesti Raid during World War II. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously on October 28, 1943.
Giles Meisenheimer will be inducted in the Pioneer category, for those who made significant aviation achievements before 1927. The Milwaukee native served in the 1st Wisconsin Calvary National Guard on the Mexican border in 1916. He joined the Royal Air Force when he was injured and unable to serve the United States in World War I. He served as an airport manager and a flight instructor in southeast Wisconsin, and died in 1963.
The 2009 induction banquet will be held October 17 at the EAA AirVenture Museum. For more information, contact Michael Goc at 608-339-7191, Goc@aviationhalloffamewisconsin.com or visit www.aviationhalloffamewisconsin.com.