In his library, Bill Kershner revises one of his flight manuals in this February 2005 photo.
The family of the late William K. “Bill” Kershner has donated his extensive personal library to the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame. Kershner, formerly of Sewanee, Tenn., died in January 2007 at age 77 after a battle with cancer. A Naval aviator, renowned flight instructor, aviation author, and lecturer, Kershner—also known as “the spin doctor” because of his research into spins and dedication to spin training—published five flight manuals and a memoir that, combined, have sold more than 1.2 million copies.
Kershner was the national General Aviation Flight Instructor of the Year in 1992. He was inducted into the Flight Instructors Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame in 2002. The Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame, located at Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport in Sevierville, is Tennessee’s repository and archive for aviation history.
“The significance of this gift by the Kershner family cannot be overstated,” said Bob Minter, founder and chairman of the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame. “Bill Kershner is a legendary figure in Tennessee’s aviation history and around the world. Becoming custodians of this incredible personal library is an honor. Preserving this collection of more than 800 books and making them available to historians, aviation students, and researchers is indeed a privilege.”
In 2008, the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame partnered with Middle Tennessee State University’s Department of Aerospace to manage its archive of Tennessee’s aviation history. They are developing a database of events and accomplishments, including significant artifacts and their locations across Tennessee, that will be published online to facilitate research and to support the hall of fame’s aviation education outreach programs. The archive is housed in a dedicated room on the university campus.
The Cessna 152 Aerobat that Kershner spun some 8,000 times is displayed in the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Annex at Washington Dulles International Airport just west of Washington, D.C.
Kershner hugs Evelyn Bryan Johnson at a May 2005 Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame event.
The Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame plans to honor another of the state’s aviation legends this fall, marking the 100th birthday of 57,600-hour CFI Evelyn Bryan Johnson. “Mama Bird,” who also administered some 9,000 checkrides as a designated pilot examiner, served on the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission for decades and still manages Moore-Murrell Airport in Morristown—a position she has held for more than 50 years. Johnson turns 100 on Nov. 4.
At its Nov. 14 event, the Hall of Fame also will enshrine Jennifer C. Baker, Jim D. Ethridge, the late E. Ward King, and retired Air Force Lt. Col. William H. Pickron. For more information on the event, visit the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame’s Web site.