James W. “Pete” Campbell

James W. “Pete” Campbell

(1920-1999) Enshrined November 11, 2006

Pete Campbell first learned to fly at Gill-Dove Field in Martin, Tennessee after serving in an Army Reserve Infantry Unit. He subsequently transferred to the Army Air Force to train as a glider pilot. Campbell entered the Army Air Force Aviation Cadet program in 1943 and became a Commissioned Officer in January 1944. He flew B-24’s in the South Pacific, tallying 56 combat missions with the 380th Bomb Group, 5th Air Force. Pete returned home after the war and opened a small FBO at Union City Airport. In the 50’s he was with the training division of California Eastern Airways contracted to train pilots for the Air Force. Campbell joined the Federal Aviation Administration in 1960 as a field inspector. His assignment to the FAA Academy in 1964 lead to the creation of what is considered to be one of the most beneficial safety programs in FAA history.

Troubled by the dismal safety record of Certified Flight Instructors across the entire nation, Pete Campbell created teams of FAA Flight and Ground Instructors who traveled the entire country implementing what became “Flight Instructor Refresher Courses”, still in place today. Over a period of about seven years and more than 200 courses, training more than 16,000 flight instructors, the accident rate among flight instructors was reduced by more than 50%. In 1971 Pete Campbell created another successful safety initiative by organizing the FAA’s “Accident Prevention Program”. Also part of his continuing legacy, it placed FAA Accident Specialists in each of the nation’s eighty-five General Aviation District Offices, now called FSDO’s.

James W. “Pete” Campbell retired from the FAA in 1980 after serving as Chief of the Nashville Flight Standards District Office. In retirement he continued to write, lecture and teach as a nationally recognized authority on Federal Air Regulations, the National Airspace System and flight training. Pete served as the first Southeast Regional Representative for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and was one of the first three Flight Instructors to be inducted into the Flight Instructors Hall of Fame in 1997.

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