A native of Orangeburg, Howell C. “Nick” Jones served the military in the World War II Training Command as an Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet at Auburn University and in the navy as an Aviation Cadet.
In 1964, Jones began construction of a Cassutt race plane, which he finished in less than 15 months. In 1955, he flew his first air race and for 11 years he was involved in Formula One racing. After the first “straight” Cassutt, he built two other modified versions of the same plane. A leader in the sport himself, he was the founder, promoter and organizer of the Oshkosh 500, an efficiency acclaimed as the “the race at which it’s impossible to cheat.”
Jones’ strong interest in designing aircraft resulted in the creation of the White Lighting, a four-seat aircraft that set three world speed records. Jones continues his involvement with the design, manufacturing and sale of highly advanced, two-stroke engines for aircraft, boats, cars and industrial machinery. In 1998, he was named South Carolina Aviator of the Year.