Jennifer Baker

Jennifer Baker

Enshrined November 14, 2009

Jennifer Cairns Baker of Nashville has been a tireless advocate for the aviation maintenance technician for over 30 years. She has unselfishly contributed to the betterment of the profession and to those who have, like her, dedicated themselves and their life’s work to aviation safety. Baker’s aviation career began in 1978 when she was hired as an instructor by a small aviation school in Nashville. She soon became a partner with the school’s owner and traveled extensively for 16 years teaching airframe, powerplant and inspection authorization courses.

In 1994 she bought out her partner and renamed the school the Baker’s School of Aeronautics. The Baker’s School of Aeronautics in Nashville contributes in a meaningful way to Tennessee’s aviation economy and enrolls over 1,100 students each year many of whom travel from more than 125 countries around the world to take courses in Airframe and Powerplant Technology and Aircraft Inspection Authorization. The school also offers courses for Private, Commercial and Instrument Pilot written examinations.

Jennifer Baker serves as Secretary of the Federal Aviation Administration’s National AMT Awards Committee. She is a member of the Aviation Maintenance Technology Advisory Committee for the Tennessee Technology Center and has served as the “anchor” of Tennessee’s 43-year old Tennessee Mid-South Aviation Maintenance Conference Steering Committee for many years. Mrs. Baker was chosen as the FAA’s Tennessee Aviation Safety Counselor of the Year in 1999 and continues to serve as an FAA FAASTeam (Safety) Representative in the Nashville area.

Jennifer Baker played an instrumental advocacy role in 2003 that resulted in the Tennessee General Assembly passing legislation declaring May 24th of each year as “Aviation Maintenance Technician Day.” Since that time, she has held a picnic on that day honoring Tennessee’s Aviation Maintenance professionals.

To learn more, visit: www.tnairmuseum.com

Jim D. Ethridge

Jim D. Ethridge

Enshrined November 14, 2009

Jim Ethridge learned to fly in his hometown of Union City, Tennessee in 1959 and received his private pilot checkride from aviation legend Evelyn Bryan Johnson on January 19, 1960. He later served alongside Mrs. Johnson on the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission. His pilot ratings include commercial fixed-wing single, multi-engine and instrument ratings and commercial helicopter. Mr. Ethridge has owned and flown a variety of piston, turbo-prop, jet and helicopter aircraft . In 1995, Governor Don Sundquist appointed Jim Ethridge to the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission where he served for two consecutive 5-year terms; twice as Commission Chairman. While on the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission, the Tennessee Office of Aeronautics was elevated to Division status within the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Prior to completing his second term on the state aeronautics commission, Jim was appointed to the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. Memphis International Airport is known as “America’s Aerotropolis”; the only airport in North America considered to be an “aerotropolis”, a world-class facility serving more than 10 million passengers a year and the largest air cargo airport in the world for nearly two decades. Jim has chaired the MSCAA long-term planning and development committee and its general aviation committee. Mr. Ethridge was elected the 2008 Chairman of the Commissioner’s Committee of the Airports Council International – North America, the North American branch of Airports Council International headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and he became a voting member of the Airports Council Board in Washington. He expanded the lobbying efforts of Commissioners of major airports in the U.S. and Canada focused upon guiding legislation in Washington to benefit airports and air travelers. Aviation has been an avocation and a labor of love for Jim Ethridge for almost 50 years. Through his talents and his leadership Jim Ethridge has made countless contributions to aviation.

To learn more, visit: www.tnairmuseum.com

E. Ward King

E. Ward King

(1896-1977) Enshrined November 14, 2009

Kingsport entrepreneur, E. Ward King, founded Southeast Airlines. Tennessee’s first intrastate commuter airline in 1956, at age 61. Born in Hawkins County, the son of a Methodist Minister, Ward King grew up on the campus of Emory & Henry College. He worked at the Overland Automobile Factory in Toledo, Ohio before entering military service where he served as a truck driver and mechanic in the Army Transportation Corps in France and Germany during WWI. After the war he worked in automobile services in North Fork, WV. After applying for a Studebaker dealership he was assigned to Kingsport, Tennessee. He moved his family there in 1925. The business was closed during the depression and in 1932, he founded Mason & Dixon Lines with two partners whom he later bought out. Mason & Dixon became the largest family owned trucking company in the U.S. Mr. King’s ability to maximize the use of his time and talents through the use of his own company aircraft provided the vision of a cross-state commuter airline and Southeast Airlines was born. After purchasing five DC-3’s from United Airlines and hiring personnel he built a hangar and administrative offices at Tri-Cities Airport. On February 8, 1957 scheduled daily flights began with two westbound flights originating from Tri-Cities Airport and two eastbound flights leaving Memphis – serving the cities of Jackson, Dyersburg, Union City, Clarksville, Nashville, Tullahoma, Chattanooga and Knoxville. During the first five months of operations, Southeast Airlines flew 10,000 passengers throughout Tennessee. This encouraged expansion and two pressurized Convair 240’s were added to the fleet in 1959. Realizing that interstate transportation of mail, passengers and freight and connections with other airlines would be necessary to continue growing, and to be financially successful, Southeast petitioned the CAB for that authority. Their bid was unsuccessful and another airline was awarded the routes. In August 1960, Southeast Airlines was forced to fold its wings. One of the airline’s Convairs, named “The General” became a corporate aircraft for Mason & Dixon Lines and six years later, on Christmas Day 1966, E. Ward King and Mason & Dixon donated that extraordinary aircraft and thousands of dollars worth of spare parts to The University of Tennessee.

To learn more, visit: www.tnairmuseum.com

Lt. Col. William H. Pickron, Jr.

Lt. Col. William H. Pickron, Jr.

(1923-2013) Enshrined November 14, 2009

Born March 7, 1923 in McCaulley, Texas Bill Pickron worked in a cotton gin at night while in high school. One of his hobbies was building model airplanes. He joined the Army as a Private in March 1941 and began night school. After taking a competitive exam and was selected for pilot training as an Enlisted Pilot. Pickron earned his wings as a S/Sgt. because he had not yet reached 21 years of age as required to become a Commissioned Officer. The regulations later changed and he was properly commissioned. During WWII he served as a Fighter Pilot in both the European and Pacific theaters. He flew the P-39, P-40 P-47, P-51 and P-38. Later as Squadron Commander in Raimstein, Germany he flew the F-84 and F-86. Pickron also flew the F-104 as a pilot and flight instructor for the Italian Air Force in Rome and also as Air Force advisor to the Tennessee Air National Guard in Knoxville. After WWII, as a member of the USAF Instrument Pilot Instructor School (IPIS), he specialized in teaching precision instrument flying to USAF and NATO pilots. When the Air Force received jet aircraft in 1949, Pickron conducted flight tests and collaborated in writing the first Air Force Manual on jet instrument flight procedures. His flight tests included over 200 thunderstorm penetrations. Col. Pickron retired from the Air Force in 1967 and became the State of Tennessee’s first Chief Pilot, hired by Governor Frank Clement to fly the Governor and state officials. He was the only pilot flying a used Aero Commander for incoming Governor Buford Ellington and was also the pilot for Governors Winfield Dunn and Ray Blanton. Pickron is a Command Pilot with over 13,000 hours in over fifty aircraft with Type Ratings in the B-25, DC-3, Boeing 377 and Lear Jet 24. His many awards include four Air Medals, two Presidential Unit Citations, the Tennessee National Guard Distinguished Service Award, and a Commendation from the Italian Air Force. While a state pilot Col. Pickron answered many calls to serve Tennesseans in time of need. He flew missions in extreme weather to deliver life-saving human organs for transplant.

To learn more, visit: www.tnairmuseum.com