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EAA Sport Aviation Hall of Fame Ceremony

Thursday, November 8, 2018 

Reception begins at 6 p.m. | Dinner and program to follow

EAA is proud to honor five new inductees into our Sport Aviation Halls of Fame at a dinner ceremony on November 8, 2018, in the Founders’ Wing of the EAA Aviation Museum. The five inductees, representing ultralights, the International Aerobatic Club, the Vintage Aircraft Association, Warbirds of America, and homebuilding, have dedicated their lives to their respective areas of aviation and join an esteemed group of individuals who represent the spirit of EAA in the highest form.
• EAA Ultralights—Gene Smith
• International Aerobatic Club—Tom Adams
• Vintage Aircraft Association—Ron Alexander
• Warbirds of America—Jack Roush
• EAA Homebuilders—Darryl Murphy

The EAA Sport Aviation Halls of Fame were established to honor the outstanding achievements of men and women in aviation who share the spirit of EAA and its community. Those inducted into the hall of fame are selected by their peers for the myriad of contributions made to their respective areas of aviation.
Bringing together EAA's boards of directors, divisions, affiliates, and councils, the hall of fame is a tribute to the pioneering spirit and innovation that has marked the evolution of flight, a spirit that is nurtured and promoted throughout EAA's membership. The event also reunites past honorees to celebrate their collected achievements.

All are invited to attend the induction ceremony and dinner, which begins with a 6 p.m. reception. Tickets are $50 each (plus $2.50 tax) and include the ceremony and full-service dinner.

For questions, please contact Jane Smith at jsmith@eaa.org or 920-426-6823.

Dinner Menu - To be Announced

2018 Inductees

2018 Halls of Fame InducteesUltralights: Eugene Smith

David Eugene “Gene” Smith was born in 1933 near Rolla, Missouri, and died in December of 2016. Gene earned a degree in mechanical engineering and worked for International Harvester and started a family. After several years he returned to Rolla with his wife and four kids, raising crops and cattle on a farm. At that point, he started flight training and eventually started his own crop dusting operation. After about 20 years, Gene was temporarily grounded with a medical issue, so he returned to farming but continued tinkering with aircraft.

Gene had a gift and passion for mechanical design and innovation that led him to start Valley Engineering in 1998, a business he co-owned with his son Larry. Gene designed the popular swing-wing Back Yard Flyer ultralight, which he demonstrated tirelessly at AirVenture Oshkosh every summer. Gene went on to design more than 20 other aircraft and never stopped tinkering. In 2001, he acquired Culver Props, and his two businesses have long supplied the ultralight and light-sport aircraft community with complete aircraft, as well as components like reduction drive systems, engines, and propellers.


2018 Halls of Fame InducteesInternational Aerobatic Club: Thomas H. Adams Jr., EAA 77537, IAC 1999

Tom Adams learned to fly by training with his father and helped pay for college by dusting crops with a 450 Stearman. After graduation, he served in the Navy, flying A-4D Skyhawks, and then spent a summer flying PB4Y2 Privateers for a spraying operation before starting his 32-year career with Northwest Airlines. By the time he retired as a captain on the 747-400, he’d logged time in more than 100 different types.

During his airline career, he built his first Pitts S-1C and began competing in IAC regional aerobatic contests. Over the years, Tom has been recognized with multiple awards both for his proficiency as a pilot and competitor, as well as for serving as chief and/or grading judge at more than 200 contests. As an aerobatic competitor and judge, Tom has been able to share his expertise with many fellow aerobatic pilots and does coaching at contests, chapter practices, or at his private strip. Tom has served on the IAC board of directors for more than 28 years, and he continues to play an active role in aerobatics as a national judge.

2018 Halls of Fame InducteesVintage Aircraft Association: Ron Alexander, EAA 137890, VAA 27150

The Vintage Aircraft Association will posthumously induct Ronald Ray “Ron” Alexander into the VAA Hall of Fame. Ron was a highly decorated former U.S. Air Force pilot, a retired Delta Air Lines captain, and a businessman deemed by one writer as the “quiet giant of aviation.”

In 1976, Ron began restoring antique aircraft and, in 1979, founded Alexander Aeroplane Company, which became a major supplier of materials for both restorers and builders. Over the years, he owned a number of other aviation companies, including Stits Poly-Fiber, Atlanta Aerospace Composites, and the Accessory Overhaul Group. In 1993, Ron developed a series of hands-on programs with the name SportAir Workshops, a program he sold to EAA six years later. In 2004, Ron purchased Peach State Aerodrome (now Alexander Memorial Airport) with the goal of replicating the look and feel of Atlanta’s Candler Field airport of the 1930s era.

Ron was a member of the EAA Vintage Aircraft Association board of directors, and after retiring from Delta, Ron regularly flew his DC-3, Jenny, and J-3.


2018 Halls of Fame InducteesWarbirds of America: Jack Roush, EAA 478254, Warbirds 15186

Jack Roush was born in Covington, Kentucky, in 1942 at the height of the war. His interest in science, math, and all things mechanical began at an early age. Those interests led him to auto racing and eventually partnering with Fenway Sports Group to form Roush Fenway Racing — one of the most successful NASCAR teams in history.

Roush’s entry into the aviation community led him to the P-51 Mustang, purchasing his first in 1992. With his vast experience in motor sports, he began studying the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine and quickly discovered that parts and maintenance support were in short supply. With his typical drive, Jack laid the groundwork for the establishment of the first and only FAA Repair Station for Merlin engines. Jack and his company, Roush Aviation, are the leaders in preservation of the Merlin, keeping today’s P-51 Mustangs in the air and preserving our rich military aviation history.

Jack currently owns and operates two Mustangs, Old Crow and Gentleman Jim. Despite his busy racing schedule, he always carves out time to visit EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, participating in the ever-popular Warbirds in Review program.

2018 Halls of Fame InducteesHomebuilding: Darryl Murphy, EAA 293368

This year’s inductee into the EAA Homebuilders Hall of Fame, Darryl Murphy of Chilliwack, British Columbia, got his start in the late 1970s by designing and building a rigid wing hang glider. While laid up after a non-aviation-related accident, he started designing a single-seat biplane that first flew in 1984. He upgraded that design to a two-seater using innovative construction techniques and then founded Murphy Aircraft the following year.

Over the years, the designs continued to flow, including the company’s first commercial product, the Renegade biplane series, followed by the all-aluminum Rebel, the Maverick, the Elite, and the sturdy Moose bushplane. In addition, Darryl designed a series of amphibious floats, as well as a line of wheels and brakes. Murphy aircraft were among the first to fly with the venerable Rotax 914, and in 2003, Bombardier used a Murphy Moose to demonstrate its 300-hp V-6 engine at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. In 2012, Darryl designed the four-seat Yukon and, after announcing his retirement in 2014, went on to design the STOL, bike-rack-equipped Murphy Radical.

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