Two Minnesota Icons to be Inducted into National Halls of Fame

On February 6 Target Corporate Flight Services hosted a reception honoring two AirSpace Minnesota board members who will be inducted into national halls of fame in 2014.

The U.S. Ballooning Hall of Fame, which was initiated in 2004, has honored 24 pioneering aeronauts. On July 27, 2014 at the National Balloon Museum in Indianola, Iowa, Don Piccard will join this illustrious company.

Son of the legendary Jean Piccard and Jeannette Piccard, Don Piccard first flew in a balloon in 1933, when he was enlisted as "crew" by his mother, the first woman to fly to the edge of space. A driving force behind the hot-air ballooning revival after the war while a student at the University of Minnesota, he made the first post-war free flight in 1947 with a captured Japanese balloon. In addition to innovative use of plastic and Mylar materials and leading promotion of hot air ballooning as a sport, in 1963 he and Ed Yost were the first to cross the English Channel in a hot air balloon.

Since its founding in 1962, 219 air and space pioneers have been enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Dale Klapmeier will join their ranks on October 4, 2014 at the National Aviation Hall of Fame Learning Center and adjacent National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

With his brother Alan, Dale founded Cirrus Design in 1984. Within 20 years Cirrus earned its position as the dominant market leader in high performance, single-engine, four-place airplanes. The Cirrus state-of-the-art design and technologies including glass panel cockpits, composite construction and whole plane parachute systems revolutionized the general aircraft industry. Dale continues to build on this innovation legacy today as Cirrus prepares to bring the Vision SF50 – the world’s first personal jet – to market.

AirSpace Minnesota offers special thanks to Larry Grace, noted aviation photographer & President of the International Society for Aviation Photography for capturing the evening in this beautiful photo gallery.