The 2018 TENNESSEE AVIATION HALL OF FAME GALA & INDUCTIONS CEREMONY will be held November 3, 2018 at The Embassy Suites Convention Center / Murfreesboro, More than 400 attended the 2017 event. Photos and an event video are available on the TAHF website . The TAHF Board of Directors expresses its sincere appreciation to everyone who helped make this another extraordinary event. The 2018 Class of Inductees will be announced soon.


In 2011 Sarah Kelly-Arnold earned the US Soaring Team National Championship and became the first woman in history to represent the USA in a world soaring competition. She has accumulated over 2200 hours of flight time in gliders and holds CFI, CFIG, CFII Ground ratings. She is also an A& P Mechanic with Inspection Authorization. Mrs. Arnold was raised on a farm in British Columbia where at age 13, she learned to fly a single seat Quicksilver ultralight. In 2001 she became enamored with the Chilhowee Gliderport near Benton, Tennessee and a year and a half later, at 24 years of age, she became the youngest owner of any commercial gliderport in the nation.

The Aircraft Electronics Association, at its International Convention in 2009, recognized Bob Carpenter for his consistent excellence in the avionics industry and awarded him its highest honor, the AEA Lifetime Achievement Award. Readers of Professional Pilot Magazine voted Carpenter Avionics one of the top seven avionics shops in the nation for 20 years. Bob Carpenter’s impeccable integrity, his lifelong commitment to the highest quality workmanship and to customer satisfaction, along with his talented and dedicated staff, grew Carpenter Avionics to the largest avionics service center in the Mid-South Mr. Carpenter was born in Graniteville, South Carolina on January 2, 1934. He graduated from high school as class Valedictorian in 1952 and attended Clemson College and Amarillo College. Bob served four years in the US Air Force as in instructor. He married Fran Togneri in 1963 and they had two children.

Ken and Gail Franks own T-Top Airfield, a private, 3,600 foot long turf runway near Eagleville, Tennessee. Their lives are dedicated to sharing the adventure and enjoyment of general aviation with others. They generously host fly-in activities, constantly mentor young pilots, MTSU students and members of the ultralight and general aviation communities. Ken is a co-founder and Charter Member of the Tennessee Airfield Owners Association. He initiated and spearheaded a successful effort that resulted in the passage of legislation that provides liability protection to Tennessee property owners who host recreational aviation activities. While serving in the US Navy, Ken Franks earned his Private Pilots Certificate and later added his Commercial rating. He became an FAA Air Traffic Controller in 1968 assigned to ATC/Memphis. That career ended with the infamous PATCO Controllers Strike during which 13,000 were fired by the President in August 1981. In January 2017, Ken Franks received the FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for 50 years of accident-free flying and his contributions to aviation.

Sumner County native, Jerry Kirby, received the FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award in 2016 commemorating 50 years of professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise. Mr. Kirby has performed air shows at EAA’s AirVenture, Sun N Fun, at Tennessee Aviation Days and this year he flew a Swift at The Paris Air Show in La Bourget, France. Kirby holds a Commercial Pilot’s Certificate, with Instrument privileges, single-engine land & sea, multi-engine, and glider ratings. He is Low-Level Aerobatic and Formation Lead and Wingman qualified. Jerry’s more than 9,000 hours of flight time were logged in part as an owner or co-owner of over 35 aircraft. He once flew a Legend Cub from his private airfield (38TN) near Westmoreland, Tennessee to Fairbanks, Alaska. Jerry Kirby is a staunch and tireless advocate for aviation. He has introduced more than 425 youngsters to flying through EAA’s Young Eagles Program. In addition to numerous aviation activities, Jerry continues a lifetime of leadership and service to his local community. The Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce recognized him as their “Citizen of the Year” in 2014.

These extraordinary individuals will be inducted and enshrined at the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame 2017 Gala and Induction Ceremony, October 28, 2017 at the Embassy Suites Convention Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Reservations can be made through this website beginning in August 2017.

MTSU Student Receives Aviation Hall of Fame Scholarship

Murfreesboro, TN – March 21, 2017
The Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame has awarded a $1,000.00 scholarship to MTSU Aerospace Department student, Colin McDonald. The award was presented at the 29th Annual Tennessee Airports Conference in Murfreesboro. TAHF Chairman Edward Hadley said, “Colin McDonald is an exceptional student who has maintained the highest grade point average and we just learned that he has been selected as the Aviation Technical Education Council’s Student of the Year. We are extremely proud of Colin and wish him much success as he begins his career in aviation.”

This scholarship was made possible through a special fund established by the former Tennessee Mid-South Aviation Maintenance Conference. The fund is dedicated to students pursuing a career objective in aviation maintenance.

Aviation Hall of Fame Inductees Enshrined In 2016

Max L. Burnette of Madisonville
Max Burnette’s extraordinary 59-year career as an Aircraft Maintenance Technician earned him prestigious national recognition as the FAA’s National Aviation Maintenance Technician of the Year in 2014 along with the FAA’s Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award. He served in the North Carolina and Tennessee Air National Guard. Max and his wife Jean operated M&J Aero at Rockvale’s Gibson Field for more than 35 years.

Major General William Russell Cotney (USAF Ret.) of Memphis
Major General William Russell Cotney (USAF Ret.) of Memphis retired as Commander of the Tennessee Air National Guard February 6, 2011 culminating a distinguished 40-year career of faithful and honorable service to Tennessee and the United States Air Force. As Commander of the TANG, Cotney was responsible for insuring mission readiness of three flying wings and support units comprised of more than 3,600 Airmen and 3.5 billion dollars of equipment and infrastructure.

Thomas C. Grubbs, Jr. RN, EMT of Lebanon
Tom Grubbs retired from Vanderbilt’s Lifeflight program late last year after 31 years and nearly 6,000 patient flights; believed to be more than anyone else in civilian flight nursing history. He joined Vandy’s LifeFlight soon after it began in July 1984 with a single helicopter. The program has now grown to six helicopters, an airplane and four ground ambulances serving Middle & West Tennessee, Southern Kentucky and Northern Alabama.

Garland W. Pack (1912 – 1986) of Dickson
Garland Pack, was born in Dickson, TN November 26, 1912. His boyhood ambition was to become an aviator. Both of his pilot and aircraft mechanic licenses were signed by Orville Wright. Garland restored a damaged Waco airplane and “Barnstormed” before he reached his mid 20’s. Pack became a WWII flight instructor, ferried military aircraft across the Atlantic 16 times and flew “The Hump” into China 56 times. He established a sailplane operation at Murfreesboro that later moved to Puckett Field near Eagleville. The Dickson County Municipal Airport is named “Pack Field” to honor this aviation pioneer.

The 2016 Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame Gala and Inductions Ceremony was held November 5, 2016 at the Embassy Suites Convention Center in Murfreesboro.

To date, the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame has enshrined 61extraordinary men and women who have made aviation history through their enduring accomplishments or service for Tennessee, or nation or the world. Evidence of their contributions reside in the Tennessee Museum of Aviation located on the airport in Sevierville.