Date(s) - 04/28/2018
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Date: April 28, 2018
Contact: Nicole Bissette | 478-328-0704
The Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame will honor three new inductees into the Hall of Fame April 28 at the 2018 Annual Enshrinement Banquet at the Century of Flight Hangar at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins.
It is the mission of the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame to promote and encourage the growth and public support of aviation within the state of Georgia by honoring aviation leaders, living and dead, whose extraordinary achievements or services have made outstanding and lasting contributions to aviation, perpetuating the memory of such persons and recording their contributions and achievements through suitable memorials.
The three Georgia aviation luminaries are Bruce F. Erion, Major General Billy Maddox Jones, and John Bingham McKibbon, Jr.. The three new members bring the total number of military and civilian inductees in the Hall of Fame to 115 since the Hall started in 1989.
The Banquet will begin with a 6 p.m. reception followed by the dinner and program at 7 p.m. Attire is business suit or black tie optional. The expected audience of 500 people will include current and former Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame Board Members, former enshrines, government, aerospace and defense industry leaders and aviation enthusiast from around the state.
Cost: Seats are $85 per person of which $35 is tax deductible.
Bruce F. Erion
Bruce Erion is best known as a helicopter aviation personality in Atlanta and an emblem of aviation professionalism in Georgia. After graduating from West Point, Erion was trained in the US Army as a Ranger, decorated as an Air Cavalry Rifle Platoon Leader, and achieved additional status as a qualified helicopter pilot. Following service in the Vietnam War, Erion continued his involvement in aviation as a sales representative for Bell Helicopters. He eventually became a pioneering helicopter traffic and news pilot who helped adapt helicopters as legitimate news-reporting assets. When Atlanta’s NBC Affiliate, WXIA, followed the trend, Erion was able to negotiate a contract and relocate to the part of the country in which he had long hoped to live, and to serve in some constructive way. Erion’s contributions within the aviation disciplines would not finish with his success in television. Toward the end of the 90s, Erion shifted to what turned out to be an even more meaningful and satisfying aviation sub-specialty when he joined Georgia Baptist Life Flight, as a lifesaving professional. Erion flew emergency medical missions for more than sixteen years before retiring to look back on a truly extraordinary flying career.
Major General Billy Maddox Jones
Bill Jones was always interested in airplanes. Enlisting in the Army Air Corps in 1944, he began his aviation adventure flying B-24s in the Pacific. He was recalled to active duty during both the Korean Conflict and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Returning to Atlanta in 1963, Jones became a Test Pilot at Lockheed Georgia, where he flew a variety of aircraft. During this time he joined the Georgia Air National Guard and flew Douglas C-124 transports. He became Wing Commander, and in 1972 he directed the conversion from the C-124 transports to F-100D fighters. In 1975 Governor George Busbee appointed Jones as his Adjutant General of Georgia and he was promoted to Major General. He was responsible for both Army and Air National Guard units and also served as State Director of Selective Service and as the Director of Emergency Management. Upon retirement Jones had over 11,000 flight hours in over 40 different types of aircraft. He served until 1985 and returned to Atlanta after forty one years of distinguished service to the United States of America. In retirement Jones was involved in Real Estate, Land Development, and the Stock Market. He continued to own a farm in Sylvester Georgia, and became a deacon of his Baptist church when he was eighty years old.
John Bingham McKibbon, Jr.
John (Jack) Bingham McKibbon, Jr. joined the United States Air Force in 1943 at the age of 19. McKibbon completed Air Force pilot training and in April 1944 earned his wings. He flew B-25 bombers in the Pacific during World War II, and inflicted significant damage to Japanese ships and airports during his 59 combat missions. McKibbon was recalled to active duty in 1951. He was assigned to the Strategic Air Command and flew KC-97 refueling aircraft for B-47 and B-50 bombers. This was early in the evolution of air-to-air refueling and McKibbon trained other pilots to perform this challenging task. McKibbon was mustered out of the military for the second time in December 1952. He flew as a private pilot after his military service, and for a short time had a flying school at the Gainesville (GA) airport. McKibbon has flown many different aircraft, and in his business career has owned a Beechcraft 435 Bonanza, Beechcraft C35 Bonanza, Cessna 185, Aero Commander 560A, push pull Cessna, a King Air Turbo Beachcraft, and now a Cessna J5 Jet.