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Space Shuttle Commander Hoot Gibson Headlines Wright Brothers Memorial Banquet

October 14, 2021 – Robert “Hoot” Gibson, a five-time space shuttle flight veteran whose aviation background ranges from military jets to air racing, is this year’s featured guest at EAA’s annual Wright Brothers Memorial Banquet on Friday, December 17, at the EAA Aviation Museum.

Tickets for the event are currently available at the EAA Aviation Museum website. Attendance is limited to 350.

Gibson’s space experiences are unique, as he flew aboard four of the five active shuttles (Columbia, Challenger, Endeavor, and Atlantis) and totaled more than 860 hours in space. Gibson’s final mission, when he commanded STS-71 in Atlantis in 1995, was a historic first-time docking of the shuttle with the Russian Mir space station. Gibson also served as chief of NASA’s astronaut office in 1992-94 and deputy director of flight crew operations in 1996 before retiring from NASA.

Along with Gibson’s space exploits, he has a long list of aviation accomplishments that include flying carrier-based combat missions for the U.S. Navy in Southeast Asia, graduation from “TOPGUN” Naval Fighter Weapons School, and more than 300 carrier landings. Gibson also has an extensive recreational aviation resume, ranging from racing at the Reno Air Races to building and flying his own aircraft. He was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2013.

EAA’s annual Wright Brothers Memorial Banquet honors the Wright brothers’ successful flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903, that began the era of manned flight. Tickets for the event are $65 for EAA members and $85 for nonmembers. Doors open on December 17 at 5 p.m., with the dinner starting at 6:30 p.m.

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