Ralph Cuthbertson

2015 Ralph Hunter Cuthbertson was a visionary and pioneer of the aviation industry in South Carolina and throughout the Southeast. Born in Mcbee in 1920, he received his primary pilot training from Jim Hamilton at the L.B. Owens Field in Columbia. Cuthbertson served his country as a Squadron Commanding Officer in World War II, before becoming a pilot for Pan American Airline, the largest International Air Carrier in the United States from 1927 until 1991. He was also the personal pilot for Pan Am founder Juan Trippe. Cuthbertson was a leader and early pioneer of the corporate flight department concept, which was considered highly innovative in the 1950s. He started programs for J.P. Stevens, Inc., Milliken Aviation, Spartan Mills, Greenwood Mills and Daniel Construction. He was the founder and CEO of Steven’s Aviation, Inc., a fixed base operator (FBO) in Greenville. He was an original pioneer of the multiple-location FBO chain — prevalent now but unheard of in the 1950s and 60s. He began and managed other locations in Atlanta, Knoxville, Nashville, Dayton and Denver, and many of these locations are still operating today. Ralph Cuthbertson died at the age of 59, leaving a family legacy of aviators through his children and...
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Colgate “Coke” Darden

1996 A native of Norfolk, Va., Darden graduated from Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia in 1953, a master’s in physics from the University of Virginia in 1954 and a PhD in nuclear physics from M.I.T. in 1960. Darden earned a Private Pilot S.E. Land in 1954; M.E. Land and Instrument Ratings in 1964; a DC-2 Type Rating in 1969; and a Multi-Engine Sea Rating in 1989. He has owned a variety of planes, including a Stinson Voyager, Piper Apache 150, 160 Apache, Cessna 172, Meyers OTW, Ryan SCW, Spartan Executive, Lockheed 12A, DC-2 and a Douglas Dolphin. Darden worked at the Savannah River Laboratory near Aiken from 1959-1964, and served as an assistant, associate and a full Professor of Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at USC from 1964 to 1994. On July 1, 1994, he retired as a Distinguished Professor of Physics. He flies his airplanes to antique fly-ins and open houses so people can see and hear them. He is a member of the Antique and Classis Division of the Experimental Aircraft Association, South Carolina Aviation Association, American Radio Relay League, The Antique Automobile Club of America, the American Physical Society and the South Carolina Breakfast...
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Nettie DuRant Dickerson

1996 Nettie Durant Dickerson was born in Jasper County in 1923. She was graduated from St. John’s in Darlington in 1940, the South Carolina State School of Nursing in 1944, and the USC College of Nursing in 1964. She served in the Army Nurse Corps on a hospital ship during World War II, and in 1945, she married John Edward Dickerson. From 1950 to 1974, she worked in public health nursing, and she received her pilot’s license in 1974. She is an icon for aviation in the banking industry because of her contribution to the development of air transportation for the rapid clearance of checks. In 1973, she and her family founded Bankair, Inc. Under her leadership, the company became nationally known. Dickerson also introduced commuter passenger service to many small towns in South Carolina and provided an entry to commercial aviation for hundreds of pilots, many mechanics and administrators. Active in many civic organizations, and her philosophy is “The more one shares, the more one has to share.” She says she has received as much as she has given because of this shared philosophy with family and friends, and especially with associates in the aviation...
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Charles Dickerson

  2017 Charles “Charlie” Dickerson Sr was born in Hartsville in 1950. He lived his entire life in South Carolina, except when he was on active duty as a U.S Army helicopter pilot serving in Vietnam. After Vietnam Charlie worked as a ramp agent at the Columbia Airport (CAE).  Shortly thereafter he created BankAir. BankAir was based on flying high-priority freight, legal documents, production line parts, human organs, and passengers. As the number of passengers increased, Charlie recognized the need for a commuter airline. He established BankAir Commuter in 1975, which became the first and longest-lived commuter airline in South Carolina’s history. Charlie was more than a pilot. He managed a support structure that included fleet contract maintenance, aircraft refueling, pilot and mechanic training, aircraft replacement parts, and a full-service fixed base operation.  He also gave back to his community and was instrumental in creating and supporting the Dickerson Children’s Center. When he died in 2014, he had transformed himself from a young man returning from war to a successful chief executive officer of a charter and air cargo service with 72 pilots and 42 aircraft. Charlie was a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airline Transport Pilot, for Single and Multiengine Land Airplanes and a Commercial Pilot in Helicopters.  He held FAA Airframe and Powerplant mechanic ratings, and was a FAA certificated Ground Instructor.  His total flight hours exceeded 10,000....
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Charles Moss Duke, Jr.

1994 Charles Duke attended High School in Lancaster and graduated from Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg, Florida. He then went on to graduate from the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD along with earning a master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT . He has also earned honorary doctorates from USC and Francis Marion College. In 1966, he was selected as an astronaut and was assigned to the Apollo program. He served as a lunar module pilot of Apollo 16 and spent 71 hours on the moon performing scientific experiments. Overall, he logged more than 265 hours in space. Duke attained the rank of Brigadier General in U.S. Air Force. A highly effective role model for the citizens of South Carolina, Duke serves as director of Young Astronaut Council. He has been recognized as South Carolina Man of the Year, a member of South Carolina Hall of Fame, and he received the distinguished Eagle Scout Award. Charles Duke’s website: http://www.charlieduke.net Charlie Duke – Apollo 16 Charlie Duke Apollo 16 Blastoff Apollo 16 Blastoff Charlie Salutes from the Moon Charlie Salutes from the Moon Astronaut Charles Duke is one of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966. He served as lunar module pilot of Apollo 16, April 16-27, 1972 and was the 10th of only 12 men to walk on the moon. He was accompanied on the fifth manned lunar mission by John W. Young (spacecraft commander) and Thomas K. Mattingly II (command module pilot). Apollo 16 was the first scientific expedition to inspect, survey and sample materials and surface features in the Descarts region of the rugged lunar highlands. Duke and Young commenced their lunar surface stay of 71 hours and 14 minutes by maneuvering the lunar module Orion to a landing on the rough Cayley Plains. In three subsequent excursions onto the lunar surface, Duke and Young logged over 20 hours in extra-vehicular activities. It involved the emplacement and activation of scientific equipment and experiments, the collection of nearly 213 pounds of rock and soil samples, and the evaluation and use of Rover 2 over the roughest surface yet encountered on the moon. With the completion of the Apollo 16 mission, General Duke had logged 265 hours and 51 minutes in space. Astronaut Duke has served as backup lunar module pilot for Apollo 13 and Apollo 17 flights. He has numerous honors and his hobbies include...
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Haywood R. “Woody” Faison

1999 Colonel Faison learned to fly in the early 1930’s with the legendary Oscar Meyer in Hendersonville, NC. He made his first solo flight on July 3, 1936 in a J-2 Cub. While a cadet at the Citadel, he continued his flight training with Bevo Howard. He graduated from the Citadel in 1939 and joined the National Guard, where he received his private license through the CPT. He continued on to active duty with the Army Air Corps. After winning his AF wings, he trained student navigators and then moved on to B-29’s. 35 combat missions followed through B-29 transition from Saipan. Colonel Faison flew in the Berlin Airlift (C-54s and the C-97), served at TAC headquarters and commanded the “ Best in SAC” 567th Missile squadron at Fairchild AFB. He flew airplanes ranging from single seat fighters to multi-engine bombers to tankers. Upon retirement, Colonel Faison returned to South Carolina and took over operation of the Wilson Memorial Airport at the Isle of Palms. He established Palmetto Air Service in 1968, which is now the longest-operating flying organization in the area. Although the primary business consists of private level flight training. Colonel Faison is a long-time member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the OX-5 Pioneers and the United Flying Octogenarians. He is also a member of the South Carolina Aviation Association and a founding member of the East Cooper Pilots...
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William G. “Billy” Farrow

2006 William G. Farrow was born on September 24, 1918 in Darlington. Those who knew him recall a young man who lived an exemplary life, a leader in youth activities at First Baptist Church, an Eagle Scout at 16, an excellent student and a 1935 graduate of St. John’s High. Farrow was one of three USC students selected to begin pilot training at the Hawthorne Aviation School in Orangeburg in the fall of 1939. He then received his commission and the silver wings of an Army Aviator in 1941. He was then transferred to his duty station, the 17 Bomb Group in Pendleton, Oregon, and he transitioned to the B-25 Mitchell Bomber, the newest weapon in the Air Corps. In January 1942, the 17 Bombardment Group had just moved from Oregon to the new Columbia Army Air Field when Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle asked for volunteers for a “secret,” highly hazardous mission. Training over Lake Murray and flying cross-country to Bush and Daniel Fields in Augusta, was soon replaced with puzzling short field take-off training in Columbia, and then Eglin Field, Florida. On April 1, 1942, the crews and the B-25s were loaded aboard the USS Hornet and sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge, destination unknown, for a mission that would become part of the Doolittle Raid story: Lt. Billy Farrow’s plane — the “Bat out of Hell,” Crew #16 — launched toward Nagoya, Japan’s fourth largest city. There, the plane’s bombs dropped from 500 feet, destroying an oil storage tank and inflicting damage with incendiary cluster on the Mitsubishi Aircraft Factory. On April 19, 1942, 16 hours after leaving the USS Hornet, the B-25s engines sputtered out of gas. Lt. Farrow and his crew were forced to bail out shortly after crossing the south coast of Hanchung, China, which was Japanese held territory. The crew was captured, interrogated and tortured by the Japanese, who tried to force them to sign guilty confessions of war crimes. In October, the Emperor commuted the death sentence of five airmen, but executions of Bill Farrow and two others would be carried out as scheduled. Farrow was permitted to write a letter to his mother, and he wrote a selfless letter of encouragement to his family, in which he said “…don’t let this get you down. Just remember that God will make everything right and that I will see you again in the...
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Rear Admiral James H. Flatley, III (Ret)

2000 Rear Admiral (Ret.) James H. Flatley III is the chief executive officer of the South Carolina Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Charleston. His leadership and contributions to aviation in South Carolina include the rebuilding of Patriots Point to premier Naval Air Museum. Flatley also had an outstanding career as a Naval aviator, earning the Air Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross, among many U.S. and foreign awards. Further, in special airmanship, Flatley demonstrated the possibility of operating the large C-130 Air Force transport on and off of Navy aircraft carriers. Flatley made not one, not 10, but 29 “Touch and Gos” and 21 “Full Stop Landings” on the carrier USS Forrestal. Flatley was made an Admiral, thus following in the footsteps of his father who was the USS Yorktown’s first Air Group Commander, in WW II. Flatley retired in July 1987 to Charleston and continues to be a force in South Carolina Aviation. Flatley was named to U.S. Naval Aviation Carrier Hall of Fame in 1999. When Lt. James H. Flatley III was told about his new assignment, he thought somebody was pulling his leg. “Operate a C-130 off an aircraft carrier? Somebody’s got to be kidding,” he said. Lockheed C-130 Hercules Thanks to The Aviation Zone C-130 Hercules Lands on U.S.S. Forrestal C-130 Hercules When one reviews the encyclopedic range of accomplishments by the C-130 Hercules and its valiant aircrews over the years, surely one of the most astounding took place in October 1963 when the U.S. Navy decided to try to land a Hercules on an aircraft carrier. Was it possible? Who would believe that the big, four-engine C-130 with its bulky fuselage and 132-foot wing span could land on the deck of a carrier? Not only was it possible, it was done in moderately rough seas 500 miles out in the North Atlantic off the coast of Boston. In so doing, the airplane became the largest and heaviest aircraft to ever land on an aircraft carrier, a record that stands to this day. When Lt. James H. Flatley III was told about his new assignment, he thought somebody was pulling his leg. “Operate a C-130 off an aircraft carrier? Somebody’s got to be kidding,” he said. But they weren’t kidding. In fact, the Chief of Naval Operations himself had ordered a feasibility study on operating the big propjet aboard the Norfolk-based U.S.S. Forrestal (CVA-59)....
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Hiers Furtick

2001 Furtick earned his private pilot’s license in 1938 and was assigned the very low number of 40027 by the US Civil Aeronautics Administration. The South Carolina Aeronautics Commission also assigned him the low number of 314; presumably, he was the 314th certified pilot in the state. Furtick was one of the four original pilots who assisted Tom Summers in creating the South Carolina Breakfast Club. He became an instructor at Hawthorne School of Aeronautics in 1941. The school trained 9,294 American and French cadets during World War II in the Stearman PT 17 primary trainer. Following World War II, Furtick worked as chief pilot for several companies and continued to provide instruction for those interested in becoming pilots. By 1970, Furtick had logged 14,051 flying hours. During the 1970’s and 80’s he was employed as an instructor by Miller Aviation in Columbia. He was sought after as an aerobatic show pilot. Furtick was born in Orangeburg, SC on October 13, 1913 and died on November 16,...
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Roland “Rocky” J. Gannon

2001 Rocky Gannon is an international aviation consultant specializing in airports and air traffic control. In 1993, he retired as the executive director of the Florence Regional Airport. Prior to that position, Gannon was an independent aviation consultant in Washington, DC. In 1980, Colonel Gannon retired from the U.S. Air Force after 37 years of active duty. During that time, he flew more than 6,000 hours in 34 different types of aircraft, from bombers to transports and gliders to fighters. He has 50 military awards and decorations, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and 10 Air Medals. He flew as a combat pilot in World War II, Korea, Belgian Congo and 387 combat missions in Vietnam. After World War II, Gannon served three years in the occupation of Iwo Jima and Japan. He served 14 of his 37 years of service overseas. In 2001, he was named South Carolina Aviator of the...
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Reid Garrison

2015 Jesse Reid Garrison was born in 1936 in Madison, SC, graduating from Calhoun Falls High School in 1955 and Clemson University in 1960. While at Clemson, he worked as a “line boy” for Carolina Aero Service in Anderson, learning to fly while earning $1 per hour. He later traded work for flying instructions. He received his private pilot certificate in 1959 while at Ft. Benning, Georgia. After graduating from Clemson, Garrison entered the U.S. Army as a 2nd Lieutenant. He completed the Officer Basic Course and then graduated from the U.S. Army helicopter flight school. During his army career, he served as a rotorcraft helicopter pilot and flight instructor. In 1963, he returned to the civilian status but remained in the reserves until he retired as a captain in 1983. He returned to work at the Anderson County Airport with the Carolina Aero Service, as a flight instructor and mechanic. In September 1965, he was awarded a contract to build and develop a Fixed Base Operation (FBO) at the Clemson-Oconee County Airport. While there, he provided flight training for U.S. Army and Air Force cadets enrolled in ROTC programs. Garrison was instrumental in acquiring the first airplane to be donated to the Clemson University Athletic Department. He operated this aircraft as a pilot-in-command for almost a year while also providing air carrier charter service to Clemson. He purchased Anderson Aviation, Inc. in Anderson in 1975. He operated both the Clemson and Anderson airports as a full fixed base operation that included a flight school, a charter and helicopter service, and an aircraft maintenance and avionics shop. He sold the Clemson operation to Oconee County in 1979. Garrison continued to operate the Anderson Airport as a full-service FBO until 1999. During this period, he maintained and managed two separate Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 135 air carrier services with twin-engine airplanes and rotorcraft helicopters. In 1972, Garrison acquired the famous Art Scholl Chipmunk aircraft N13A, and he launched his aerobatic career. For about 12 years, he flew N13A in air show demonstrations. Garrison was passionate about the restoration of WWII aircrafts, and he restored a Beech T-28, two North American T-6Gs, and a Beech Dehavilland Chipmunks from London, England and Lisbon, Portugal. His prize restorations are the two restored Beech T-34s. In 2001, Garrison was contracted by MedShore Ambulance Service to create a Medicav helicopter operation. Garrison worked with...
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Wendall Gibson

2007 In 1939, as a 10-year-old boy, Wendall Gibson took his first airplane ride in a Piper J-2 cub on a grass strip known as Anderson Field with pilot Bob Houseworth after a South Carolina Breakfast club meeting in Walterboro. After World War II, Gibson worked part-time as ramp attendant at Walterboro Airport and was compensated with free flight instruction instead of money. After learning from instructors Fripp Fishburne and Joe Smoak, he flew his first solo flight on August 5, 1946 at the age of 16. In 1949, he and his closest friends joined the newly formed Walterboro Civil Air Patrol Squadron. He was designated as Squadron Check Pilot and spent many flight hours working with 18 other squadron pilots and flying many search and rescue missions in L-5 Stinsons, L-4 Pipers and L-16 Aeroncas. Gibson moved to Barnwell in August of 1954. To continue pursuing his interest in aviation, he organized a flying club in Barnwell in 1955, and coordinated the purchase of an Aeronca 11AC that became one of only three locally based airplanes. On November 7, 1964, he received his Commercial Pilot Certificate with assistance from Orangeburg Instructor Cecil Hadwin and FAA Designated Examiner Forrest Boshears of Augusta. Soon afterwards, he earned his instrument rating and Flight Instructor certification. At that time, the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission had management jurisdiction over the Barnwell County Airport. He was designated as Airport Manager, and he organized a fixed base operation, offering fuel, flight instruction, maintenance, charter and aerial application services. After 10 years, he relinquished management duties at the airport but continued as a local flight instructor. He also flew a Cessna 310 and a Piper Aztec for the law firm of Brown, Jefferies and Boulware. Wendall was a charter member of the Barnwell County Airport Commission, serving as its second Chairman in 1992. He was reappointed Airport Manager in 1995 and served until his retirement in 2005. According to Wendall, his most satisfying accomplishment in aviation is never having heard that one of his students was seriously injured due to pilot...
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Joe Giltner

1991 Joe Giltner developed Chester’s Bermuda High Soaring School into the most important Glider Operation in the Southeast. A World War II fighter pilot and a POW, he was an instructor and Glider Examiner designee. He helped thousands of pilots earn glider ratings and was instrumental in making Chester famous as a competition site for regional and national soaring contests. Giltner served as an airport commissioner and was a former postmaster. This trophy was commissioned and endowed by a group of soaring pilots in 1981 to commemorate the memory of Joe Giltner following his death. Mr. Giltner, from Chester, South Carolina, was a dedicated soaring instructor and an outstanding competitor. For the trophy his friends chose a bronze sculpture of an osprey about to take flight to symbolize Joe’s love of flying and especially soaring. This trophy is perpetual and is awarded annually to the pilot scoring the fastest official speed on a task during the U.S. 15-Meter National Soaring Championships. The trophy remains in the custody of the winner for one year and then is passed on to the next winner. Each recipient is also given a handsome certificate to commemorate the...
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David Griffin

2015 When he was young, David Griffin built dozens of model airplanes. When he was in grammar school, he learned to fly gliders from the Royal Air Force. And at the age of 15, he soloed. He worked in the aviation industry on a five-year professional study program while simultaneously attending college. He then attended Sheffield University, and he registered as a Professional Engineer at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, London, England. He participated in a five-year program at Fairey Aviation, UK, that required potential engineers to work through every aspect of aircraft manufacture from learning how to use machine tools to aircraft assembly, and finally, in the design office. The company built innovative airplanes including the “droop-snoop” FD 2 that established a world speed record and subsequently became the flying lab for the Concorde. After immigrating to California in 1956, he was not allowed to work in the aircraft industry because his security clearance did not transfer. He never returned to the aircraft industry. In 1980, he moved to Charlotte to start his own textile machinery company, but in 2007, he retired and rekindled his interest in aviation. Around 2005, he bought a Cessna 150 and obtained his private pilots license. He then spent six years and about 3,000 hours building a Titan T-51 scale all metal Mustang airplane. Griffin began a bi-weekly aviation course for 7th and 8th grade at Edisto Island School. He installed a flight simulator program onto the school computers and the students learned the basics of controlled flight, weather systems, navigation, communication, and the principles of flight. He also provided kits to build small flying models. The program continued for five years until the school terminated the 7th and 8th grades. He flew every student in the C 150. At Fort Mill High School, he contributed to Career Day and promoted aviation as a career for more than five years. The school later decided to add an aviation course as a part of their curriculum. Griffin taught and supervised engineering students and auto tech students from Fort Mill High School and Nation Ford High School during a yearlong project to build a full sized Sopwith Camel bi-plane. Students used the school’s engineering facilities for design work and construction, and they incorporated both computer sided manufacturing techniques as well as hands-on construction of the airframe and engine. The aircraft is now on display at...
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Thomas Cecil Hadwin

1994 A native South Carolinian, Cecil Hadwin graduated from Bamberg High School. He learned to fly in 1939 and finished No. 6 in competitive ground school. He was awarded one of ten flight scholarships. In 1942, he was hired as a flight instructor by Hawthorne School of Aeronautics. He trained 12 classes of cadets and became assistant squadron commander. He then served as manager of Hawthorne Aviation at Orangeburg Airport until 1983. Hadwin trained hundreds of pilots, including six airline captains and at least one Air Force General. He was responsible for many improvements to the Orangeburg Airport, and he has touched and influenced thousands of people around the...
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