The first inductions into the Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame took place in December, 2003, in conjunction with the USS Saratoga Museum Foundation's celebration of the Centennial of Aviation.
The first reaction from skeptics was to snicker and say, "Well, this is Rhode Island; you’ll run out of candidates in a few years."
Little did those skeptics know just how rich and varied our aviation history is, and just how many wonderfully skilled and talented contributors to the aerial age have been born in RI, were educated here, lived here for a portion of their lives or performed some great aviation-related act or service here.
Each year’s induction, and the publicity it receives, generates more recommendations from people just like yourselves. Many of you have written or called to let us know about the role a family member, neighbor or friend may have played in our state's rich aviation history. In fact, six of our last ten inductees were not even on our radar screen the previous year. They have been honored because some of you picked up the phone or sent us an e-mail.
That means that some of our original nominees from 2003 are still on the waiting list, because each year brings forth more new and deserving nominees. Once more the skeptics were wrong; we will not run out of deserving candidates for some time to come.
Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame, Inc., (RIAHOF), plans to develop a world-class, financially self-sufficient family attraction, education and job training center, museum and memorial on the Aquidneck Island (Newport) side of Rhode Island’s beautiful Narragansett Bay, featuring the retired aircraft carrier John F Kennedy as the centerpiece.
The 2015 RIAHOF Dinner and Awards Ceremony will be held on Saturday, November 21, 2015 @ 6 PM at Scottish Rite Masonic Temple in Cranston, RI.
Our Guest of Honor this year is Arizona Congresswoman and retired Air Force Colonel Martha McSally, a Warwick native and Bay View graduate.
McSally was the first American woman to fly in combat, and also the first woman to command a fighter squadron.
We selected her last year, but deferred her induction because she was embroiled in a tight election recount, which was not finally decided until December 17. In the tightest race in the nation, she defeated the incumbent by 161 votes out of almost 220,000 cast.