Ernest William Colbert

Ernest William Colbert

(1921-2012) Enshrined November 8, 2003

Mr. Colbert helped build warplanes during WWII at Nashville’s Vultee Aircraft plant. In 1944, he and a partner founded Colemill Flying Service at Cornelia Fort Airpark in Nashville. In 1962, Bill Colbert’s idea to convert aircraft began with an FAA Approved STC to modify an Aero Commander 500A. Since that first conversion, Colemill Enterprises has become the world’s largest and most famous aircraft modifications company. Colemill has become internationally famous for conversions of the Piper Navajo, Beechcraft Baron, Beechcraft Bonanza and Cessna 310 series airplanes. The company holds more than twenty STC’s and completes approximately forty-five conversions each year. Colbert pioneered the aircraft modifications and conversions business into what has become his company’s slogan “Making Great Airplanes Better”.

To learn more, visit: www.tnairmuseum.com

R. A. “Bob” Hoover

R. A. “Bob” Hoover

 Enshrined November 8, 2003

World-renowned aviation legend, Bob Hoover was born in Nashville, Tennessee and taught himself aerobatics at Berry Field. A test pilot, air show performer, and WWII Aviator, Bob Hoover escaped from a German prison camp during WWII. Since that time, this noted aerobatic genius has performed in more air shows, in more different countries, before more spectators than anyone in the history of aviation. General Jimmy Doolittle called Hoover “the greatest stick and rudder pilot who ever lived.” His famous Aero Commander 500A air show aircraft is now on permanent display at the National Air & Space Museum’s new Stephen Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport. Bob Hoover was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1988.

To learn more, visit: www.tnairmuseum.com

Edward Chalmers Huffaker

Edward Chalmers Huffaker

(1856-1937) Enshrined November 8, 2003

Aviation pioneer Edward Chalmers Huffaker born in Sevier County, Tennessee, worked with Orville and Wilbur Wright at Kitty Hawk in 1901. He earned degrees from Emory and Henry College and the University of Virginia. In 1893, E.C. Huffaker submitted his paper entitled “The Value of Curved Surfaces in Flight”, based upon his new theory of lift resulting from observations of soaring birds, to the Congress on Aerial Navigation. Two years later, in May of 1895,The Wright brothers wrote the Smithsonian Institution requesting publications on flight. Edward C. Huffaker’s paper and his application of Bernoulli’s principle to the generation of lift as air flows over curved surfaces were among those they received. The genius of Edward Chalmers Huffaker significantly connected this special Tennessean with the Wright brothers’ historical first powered flight. Aviation changed the world forever and E.C. Huffaker earned a place in the history of early flight.

To learn more, visit: www.tnairmuseum.com

Charles E. Nelson

Charles E. Nelson

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