Entrepreneur Clay Lacy will be inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) as an outstanding air and space pioneer in 2010. Lacy and three other honorees, whose names will be released in December, will be formally enshrined at a July ceremony in Dayton, Ohio. The announcement was made Oct. 20 at the National Business Aviation Association’s annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.
Lacy, a native of Wichita, Kan., began flying at age 12. By age 19, he had logged 1,500 hours and was hired by United Airlines for the right seat of a DC-3. He retired after 40 years as senior pilot for United. In 1964, he earned a Learjet rating and became a salesman and demo pilot. He eventually leased a Learjet and started the first executive jet charter service west of the Mississippi river, operating out of California’s Van Nuys Airport. In 1968 his charter business became Clay Lacy Aviation.
Clay Lacy Aviation became known as “Hollywood’s Private Airline,” carrying celebrities around the world, according to the NAHF. Lacy bought a Learjet in 1970, and the company expanded with additional aircraft types and a second base of operations in Seattle. Today, the company maintains an extensive charter and managed aircraft network.
Lacy has conducted more than 2,500 air-to-air photo flights for television and feature films. He is a veteran air racer and holds numerous world flying records. He has conducted several philanthropic aviation missions, including a 1988 around-the-world flight in a Boeing 747 that raised $530,000 for children’s charities. The Clay Lacy Foundation, in association with the EAA Aviation Foundation, sponsors a professional pilot scholarship program at the University of North Dakota John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Science.