Inducted November 7, 2015
Bill Barton’s first flight instructor was the late Bob Bomar. He earned his Private Pilot Certificate in November 1961. A couple of years later he became a Commercial Pilot while enrolled at Middle Tennessee State College and shortly thereafter became a Certified Flight Instructor. Bill towed gliders for Garland Pack while attending college and for the next year or so flew charters and flight instructed at Tennessee Airmotive in Chattanooga while completing his Instrument and Multi-Engine ratings.
Hired by Braniff International Airways in 1965, Barton spent the next 17 years as a Flight Engineer, First Officer and Captain for the airline. He earned his Airline Transport Pilot Certificate in 1973 and was one of the youngest International airline Captains in the world at that time.
After the Braniff Airways bankruptcy in May of 1982, Bill Barton worked as an Engineering Associate at Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tullahoma with the T2 Test Cell where an advanced engine was being tested for the F-16 fighter aircraft. He was hired by the University of Tennessee Space Institute – Department of Artificial Intelligence under an FAA/NASA Grant to develop the “airliner cockpit of the next generation” incorporating as much automation as possible.
Mr. Barton worked at International Flight Center in Murfreesboro from 1984 until 1992 where he was Chief Flight Instructor. IFC was the primary flight training contractor for MTSU’s Aerospace Department and in 1988 flew 22,000 student instructional hours with no major accidents.
Bill Barton became an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner in November 1990 and between that time and March of 2012 he administered over 5,000 pilot certifications referring to each as a “license to learn”. He has earned a stellar reputation as a widely respected, consummate aviation professional and a tireless “Aviation Ambassador”. Bill Barton’s legacy is the many young pilots he has mentored who are now living their dream.
For extraordinary achievement and service to aviation for Tennessee, our nation and the world, Billy J. Barton is honored by and inducted into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame this 7th day of November 2015.