Enshrined November 8, 2003
Charles E. Nelson was born in Euchee (Miegs County), Tennessee in 1931. He joined the United States Air Force in 1949 and became an Airborne Radio Operator. After his discharge from the military Charlie worked for Douglas Aircraft then under contract to build the B-47. In 1968, through an ad in Trade-A-Plane, Charlie Nelson founded The International Swift Association. One hundred twenty-six responses became an association of more than a thousand members from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Australia, Finland, Germany, South Africa and New Zealand. Annual Swift Fly-In conventions began in 1969 and have been held in Athens, Tennessee since 1982. Hundreds of Swift members, enthusiasts and the public attend the event each year. The Swift Museum Foundation was formed and is located at the Athens-McMinn County Airport. In 1980 Mr. Nelson lead a tenacious effort to acquire the type certificate, tooling, engineering data and spare parts of Swift Aircraft, destined to be acquired by a foreign investor and moved out of the country. He also assisted in negotiations with the Government of Saudi Arabia that saved and returned to the United States a rare Temco T-35 “Swift” Buckaroo. That airplane is on display at the Swift Museum in Athens.
To learn more, visit: www.tnairmuseum.com