Thursday, January 18, 2018

Eddie McNamara DFC QCVS



Eddie McNamara (right) with John Cochrane

Richard A. Henson 1910-2002



Richard A. Henson was born in 1910 in Hagerstown, Md., and was raised in the village of Paramount by Frank and Ora Belle Henson -- both of whom were business owners. Their influence upon their third child stayed with him throughout his lifetime. From Ora Belle, who owned a ladies hat and dress shop, he learned to appreciate fine clothing and the art and value of dressing well. From Frank, who ran a coal and ice business and applied his accounting education to bookkeeping for the dress shop, he learned to put all of his talents to good use and to work hard. From both parents, he learned deep and abiding religious beliefs and to practice these in his daily life.

By the time young Mr. Henson was 17, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in aviation. After completing advanced mechanical training at Mountain Park Institute in North Carolina, he returned to Hagerstown. Although the Kreider-Reisner plant he had planned to work at had ceased production, the factory later began selling some used aircraft at "very reasonable prices."

Although this was during the Depression, Mr. Henson convinced two friends to go in with him on a C-Z Challenger plane for $1,500. For his part, he had to obtain a loan, co-signed by his mother, to raise the $375 he needed. Immediately after the sale, he begain taking pilot lessons. After soloing in 1930, he acquired a commercial license a year later, which allowed him to fly passengers for hire.

The Kreider-Reisner plant was sold, shortly thereafter, to Fairchild Aircraft Corporation, and began manufacturing planes again. Mr. Henson, with his pilot's license and mechanical training, was hired as a test pilot for $40 per week -- a vast sum, during the Great Depression. Meanwhile, he offered occasional charter flights and sight-seeing flights, as well as managing the Hagerstown Airport's grass field, as sideline businesses.

By 1932, he purchased the Blue Ridge Flying Service and renamed it Henson Flying Service, managing hi operations from the airport while continuing test flights for Fairchild. As his flying business increased, Mr. Henson began adding planes to his stable: a used Brunner Winkle Bird biplane in 1934 and an Aeronca C-3 just a short time later. Combined with his lengthy flight hours at Fairchild, Mr. Henson quickly earned the governement's top rating of an Airline Transport Pilot.

In the following years, he established a major Civilian Pilot Training Program in response to the need for pilot training brought on by the war, and continued flight testing for Fairchild, which was also responding to the war.

In 1936, he became a member of "The Caterpillar Club," an exclusive pilot's club reserved for those who are forced to eject from an aircraft. It was a dubious "badge of honor" -- he later rued that he had not tried harder to save the plane. Throughout the following years, however, Henson accumulated great numbers of awards for his accomplishments in aviation, business, and philanthropy, and earned a stellar reputation for running a safety-oriented, well-maintained fleet of aircraft.

By 1955, Mr. Henson had begun selling Beechcraft Aircraft, in addition to piloting, being a fixed base operator, executive aircraft fleet manager and chief of flight test operations for Fairchild. At the time, Mr. Henson also operated a 230-acre cattle farm with more than 100 white-faced Herefords on a farm near Smithsburg, Md.

By 1962, Henson started the Hagerstown Communter airline, providing air service between Hagerstown, Md., and Washington, D.C., some 70 miles south. It was the first time anyone had applied the idea of "commuting" prices for repetitive travel. And even with just very basic amenities and service levels, the Hagerstown Commuter soon outsold competitors providing fancier -- and more expensive -- flights on the same route.

In time, the Hagertown Commuter joined with Allegheny Airlines to create the Allegheny Commuter operation. At this point, service to Salisbury, Md., was added, and in later years, Henson's network of cities served expanded to include Baltimore, Pittsburgh and New York.Through mergers, Allegheny had become the new USAir, and was associated with several smaller, commuter-type airlines which still operated under the "communal" name "Allegheny Commuter." The lack of independent status in operating his airline bothered Mr. Henson, and in 1983, he took his airline business to Piedmont Aviation.
The new alliance allowed Mr. Henson to update his aircraft with de Havilland Canada DHC-7s and DHC-8 turboprops, and expand service throughout the southeast U.S. as "Henson, the Piedmont Regional Airline." On July 1, 1989, USAir bought Piedmont, and by 1993, the Henson logo was phased out. At age 80, Mr. Henson wasn't quite ready to retire, but was ready to "move on." In 1990 had established the Richard A. Henson Foundation, to facilitate his philanthropic endeavors and to create a legacy which would reach beyond his lifetime.

Mr. Henson died at age 92, on June 12, 2002

Gilbert Defer 1935-2017




Gilbert Defer had flown 70 different aircraft totaling 8500 hours of flying time 1450 on Concorde He was a fighter pilot in the French Air Force and became experimental test pilot, French Government. He then became an experimental Test Pilot, Aerospatiale – Senior Test Pilot for Aerospatiale and flight test manager.Gilbert Defer made the first flight of the ATR42 in 1984 followed in 1988 by the first flight of the ATR72

Elie Buge 1923-1967



Elie Buge was born in Corrèze on February 14, 1923, the youngest of eight children in a family of modest means. He began attending the municipal school Saint Augustin at age six, obtaining his primary school certificate at age 12.
Encouraged by this success, he was determined to continue his studies and insisted on being enrolled in the Corrèze secondary course. He was a brilliant student and received his lower secondary certificate (BEPC) in 1939. It was at this secondary school that he met his future wife. They would marry some years later, in 1946, and have two daughters. After his school years, Elie Buge decided to join the French Air Force. In the spring of 1941, he set off for Châteauroux, which was then in the Free Zone, where he stayed for several months before embarking on a series of experiences abroad. He spent time in French-speaking North Africa (Morocco and Algeria) and then in the USA in 1943, where he obtained his fighter pilot’s license.
From there, Elie Buge went to England, where he was assigned to the 145th Wing of the Royal Air Force. At the end of World War II, he transferred from his squadron based in Germany to the second fighter squadron in Dijon.
In 1946, he was sent to Indochina, in a Spitfire. He returned to France in 1947, to Mont de Marsan, where he remained until the end of his military career. He held the post of instructor at the Center for Transformations on Jet Aircraft (CTAR) and was a pilot in the Fighter section. He was one of the first French pilots to fly a jet plane (the Vampire). He took part in experimentation on the Ouragan and the Mystère II and Mystère IV, becoming the first non-commissioned officer to break the sound barrier, on board a Mystère II. He excelled in solo aerobatic demonstrations and was also the leader of a formation flying trio of Mystère IIs.
His reputation as a skilled pilot earned him a job offer from Avions Marcel Dassault, and he joined the company on the March 1, 1956. Assigned to acceptance testing in Mérignac, he drew attention when he went into a spin during a low-speed test.
He joined the Test circuit at Villaroche and Istres. During the winter of 1956-1957, he flew the Super Mystère B2 and executed an additional component of the Mystère IV spin program. In response to Swiss interest in the Mystère IVA 210, he presented an excellent flight demonstration in the Swiss valley of Meiringen.
With his aim of earning test pilot certification, Elie Buge spent a period of time training at the Flight Test Center (CEV) in Bretigny. He first obtained his acceptance pilot’s license and was awarded his test pilot’s license on November 30, 1959 during a second training course.


He was copilot to René Bigand on the prototype of the Mirage III B01 at Melun Villaroche. At Istres he took part in high-altitude flights on the Mirage III, and in the test program on engine shut-off up to the flight envelope limit.
Promoted to prototype test pilot at Avions Marcel Dassault, René Bigand transferred him to Bordeaux, where he acceptance tested the Super Mystère B2, the Etendard IV M, and the Mirage III, registering more than 1,000 flight hours on the latter.
Elie Buge received a number of distinctions during his lifetime, including the Legion of Honor, France’s Military Medal and Aeronautical Medal, and the French military award for combat in foreign operational theatres (Croix de guerre TOE). Elie Buge died in service on November 8, 1967