First Flight Society inducts four new Honorary Members and General Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr., into the Dr. Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine

By on November 21, 2022

Honary Member Zara Rutherford
Honary Member Nicole Malachowski
Honary Member Jerry Yagen
General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. will be inducted into the Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine.
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Group includes Zara Rutherford, youngest woman to fly solo around the world

(First Flight Society)

The First Flight Society has announced four new Honorary Members for 2022: Record holder Zara Rutherford, military pilot Nicole Malachowski, airplane collector Jerry Yagen and artist Gregory Kavalec.

Zara Rutherford became the youngest female pilot to fly solo around the world and the first person to circumnavigate the earth in a microlight aircraft. She was just 19 years old when she began a five-month journey that started in Kortrijk, Belgium, in August 2021, and ended back there in January 2022.

Nicole Malachowski was the first female pilot selected to fly as part of the USAF Air Demonstration Squadron, better known as the Thunderbirds. She is a retired United States Air Force Colonel. Nicole became a speaker and advocate on behalf of patients with tick-borne illnesses.

Gerald “Jerry” Yagen is the founder of the Military Aviation Museum in Pungo, Virginia and founder of Centura College and the Aviation Institute of Maintenance schools. He has played a major role in keeping aviation history alive in the US.

Gregory Kavalec (not pictured) is an artist who is responsible for many of the paintings In the First Flight Society’s Paul E Garber Shrine. His latest painting will be unveiled on December 17th at Wright Brothers National Memorial.

The Honorary Member program launched in 2020 to enhance the public visibility of luminaries like these who have achieved national recognition in aviation. First Flight Society will recognize them in Society Media during their lifetime. In turn, FFS offers them the chance to attend the December 17 Luncheon in Kitty Hawk and be honored along with that year’s Honoree. Previous FFS Honorary Members include General Charles McGee, Colonel Gail Halvorsen, Patty Wagstaff, Rob Holland, and Sean D Tucker.

General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.

Dr. Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine

This year, the First Flight Society inducts General Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr., the commander of the U.S. Army Air Corps’ Tuskegee Airmen and the first Black brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force, into the Dr. Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine. In addition to commanding the 99th Fighter Squadron and 332nd Fighter Group in World War II, Davis also commanded the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing in 1953 during the Korean War. On Dec. 9, 1998, Davis was advanced to the rank of general in the U.S. Air Force.

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