A little more than 26 years ago, the flight crew aboard FedEx 705 made history as they fought, in-flight, to overcome a high-jack attempt by a desperate fellow employee determined to take over the huge DC-10 and destroy himself and possibly the entire FedEx headquarters complex at Memphis International Airport. If this crew of three men had failed this brutal attack history would still have been made but it might have been even more tragic and probably even more devastating. A 530,000 pound DC-10, full of fuel, if deliberately crashed into FedEx would have killed potentially hundreds of people and might have destroyed the company altogether.

Caught by surprise and attacked, in flight, by their passenger, a disgruntled fellow employee. Initially hurt very badly were Capt. David Sanders, First Officer Jim Tucker and Flight Engineer Andre. As Peterson and Sanders struggled to control the hijacker, Tucker continued to fly the aircraft.  Tucker’s Navy flying proved valuable as he maneuvered, even inverting the enormous aircraft, far beyond its design limits, attempting to disorient the attacker.  Capt. Sanders returned to the cockpit and Tucker left the cockpit to help Peterson fight the attacker.  Sanders turned the airplane back toward the Memphis Airport and safely landed the seriously overweight DC10 on runway 36 left at Memphis.  The attacker was arrested and all three crew members, with life threatening injuries, were whisked away to the hospital. Their recoveries took years and none of the crew have been able to fly professionally since.

Our other 2020 inductees are:

Greg Elliott was a founding member of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Aviation Department. In the beginning, he flew surveillance missions for the TBI with rented airplanes. The agency began its aviation unit program in 1999 purchasing its first new aircraft a Cessna 182 in 2000 and has added a turbo-prop aircraft to the program. The TBI Aviation Unit employs four pilots who are also Special Agents and two part-time retired law enforcement pilots.

Greg became the TBI’s Chief Pilot in 2007. The unit has logged more than 6,000 accident free flight hours. Mr. Elliott retired in August 2019 after serving with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations for over 30 years.

Established in 1942, the MTSU Aerospace Department is now a signature department at Middle Tennessee State University and has grown into one of the most respected aerospace programs in the nation. Seventeen full-time faculty members, 75 flight instructors, and around 1,000 majors rank it among the largest and most prominent of the nation’s collegiate aviation programs. Students from 32 states and 16 foreign countries have been drawn to study here.

Donald McDonald is a graduate of MTSU’s Aerospace program, a life-long aviation advocate, and a staunch supporter of his Alma Mater. Donald and Francis McDonald sponsor an endowed aerospace scholarship program at the University and provided funding for an 11,000 sq. ft. aviation maintenance lab hangar at Murfreesboro Municipal Airport.

McDonald owns a private airfield in Murfreesboro and is a founding member of the Airfield Owners Association in Middle Tennessee and member of EAA Chapter 419. Mr. McDonald received the FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award in 2018.

CHATTANOOGA AVIATION ICON TO BE HONORED BY THE TENNESSEE AVIATION HALL OF FAME The late Harry Porter (1894-1988) will be posthumously inducted into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame in 2020. Porter flew his first airplane at East Chattanooga’s Marr Field in 1923; that began a famed 64-year career in aviation. He opened Porter’s Flying School in 1931 and 8-years later contracted with the government and trained 800 Army Air Corps pilots.

When he was 90 years of age, Harry Porter was recognized as the oldest active pilot in the United States. He died in 1988, Harry Porter and was hailed by local, state and national leaders as symbol of our country’s aviation history.

The CORVID-19 pandemic has caused the cancellation of the 2020 TAHF Gala and Inductions event, previous scheduled for October 24th at the Embassy Suites Conference Center in Murfreesboro. The event has been moved to the Fall of 2021 based upon continuing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic through 2020.

TAHF Children’s Coloring Book Receives Award

TAHF’s TENNESSE AVIATION LEGENDS Children’s Coloring Book Receives Award

The Tennessee Association of Museums has recognized the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame’s “Tennessee Aviation Legends” Children’s Coloring Book with a COMMENDATION AWARD in 2020.

The TAHF wants to express its appreciation to our partners all of whom made this happen: Tom Walker, our design artist; Illustrator Charles Williams, Jr.; Impressive Printing of Hendersonville, our Project Sponsors who financed the project, and Mailer’s Choice of Nashville for fulfillment and shipping. The initial print order of 20,000 copies were shipped free to requests in just 18 months. The new Tennessee State Museum also distributes copies to visiting families. We have reprinted and are working to raise the money to publish a 2nd Edition with the addition of aviation related STEM teaching aids included.

Special THANKS to the Tennessee Association of Museums for this nice recognition.