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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John E. Ellington

John E. Ellington

Enshrined November 11, 2006

John Ellington graduated from MTSU in 1956 and joined the U.S. Army as an Aviation Maintenance Specialist. In 1959 he joined Capitol Airways of Nashville and flew DC-3’s, the C-46, DC-4 and the Lockheed Constellation. He was employed by Delta Airlines in 1962 and became Delta’s Chief Pilot in 1988. While at Delta, Ellington flew the DC-6, DC-7, C-46 DC-8, DC-9, Convair 440 & 880, DC-10, Lockheed 1011 and MD-11. After 32 years at Delta and holding a variety of flight and management positions and flying as Captain aboard most of the aircraft owned by the airline during that time on routes around the world, John retired in 1994 and returned to Rutherford County as Director of Operations at Corporate Flight Management. Soon thereafter he was employed as Director of Training at America Trans Air of Indianapolis and later became Vice President of Operations. Ellington once again returned home to accept a position as Executive Director of the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority. 1n 1999 he joined World Airways of Herndon, Virginia and later became its President & COO. He retired from World Airways in 2003. Still an active pilot with more than 22,100 hours of flight time, Mr. Ellington is Past-President of the Middle Tennessee State University Foundation and Past –President of the MTSU National Alumni Association. He continues to serve on the Advisory Council to the College of Basic & Applied Sciences which includes the Aerospace Department. John and his wife Barbara are sponsors of the John & Barbara Ellington Aerospace Endowed Scholarship at MTSU. Barbara retired after 30 years as a Flight Attendant with Delta Airlines. John Ellington is the son of former Tennessee Governor, Buford Ellington.

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Capt. Charlie R. Smith, M.D.

Capt. Charlie R. Smith, M.D.

Enshrined November 11, 2006

Charlie Ray Smith is a native of Kodak, Tennessee who has led a double life… one as an Airline Pilot, and another as a Doctor, and both at the same time! FAA mandatory retirement at age 60 took him out of the left seat as an airline Captain after 36 years with American Airlines, but not out of the Doctor’s office. Today, 17 years later, Dr. Smith continues to practice medicine in Nashville, now primarily as one of Middle Tennessee’s most beloved FAA Medical Examiners. Charlie R. Smith joined the Air Force at the tender age of 17. He later flew a B-29 mission into Korea on the first day of the Korean War, a fact recorded at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. After 57 missions over Korea, at age 23, Charlie Smith was discharged from his distinguished service to his country having earned The Distinguished Flying Cross and Five Oak Leaf Clusters. Smith was hired by American Airlines in 1953 and began flying the DC-6. While flying for the airline, he used his G.I. benefits to enroll in pre-med at UT-Knoxville. He persisted through furloughs and leaves-of-absence through medical school and residencies and graduated from UT’s Medical School in 1965. He practiced Ophthalmology and taught as a Clinical Medical Instructor at Vanderbilt University until 1994. Even though Charlie retired as American’s 10th most senior pilot in 1989 he continues to serve aviation through his private practice of Aviation Medicine as an FAA Senior Aviation Medical Examiner and consultant to the Federal Air Surgeon.

To learn more, visit: www.tnairmuseum.com

Robert A. “Bob” Wilson

Robert A. “Bob” Wilson

 Enshrined November 11, 2006

Robert A. Wilson served the Air National Guard in Tennessee for over 30 years. His love of flying began at an early age. He soloed an airplane when he was 15 years old and earned his Private Pilots License on his 16th birthday, before he got his drivers license the next day. Bob is an Air Force Command Pilot with over 12,000 hours of flight time in a long list of military and civilian aircraft. During his service to our country with Tennessee’s Air National Guard he served as Aircraft Commander, Flight Commander, 155th Airlift Squadron Commander, Wing Chief of Safety and Director of Operations for the 164th Airlift Wing at Memphis International Airport. Bob Wilson was personally responsible for the installation of the only flight director system ever installed for the C-130A aircraft allowing it to operate with lower weather minimums thereby increasing its military value and efficiency. At TANG-Memphis he was responsible for the flight safety and operations of ten (10) C-130A aircraft and later, nine (9) C-141B & C aircraft. As Director of Operations for the C-141 aircraft conversion he supervised the transition of over 1,200 personnel to a new and demanding mission at Memphis. Wilson is Founder and President of Wilson Air, Inc., a corporate and general aviation fixed base operation at Memphis International Airport, selected in 2005 as the number one FBO in the United States. Wilson Air has recently opened similar facilities at Charlotte International Airport and at Houston’s Hobby Airport. Mr. Wilson is one of three recipients of the Legends in Aviation Award voted on by the local aviation community in Memphis.

To learn more, visit: www.tnairmuseum.com