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Three honored with Pathfinder AwardThree honored with Pathfinder Award

Entrepreneur Clay Lacy, aerospace executive William E. Boeing Jr., and Boeing’s first female test pilot, Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann, have received the Pathfinder Award from the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

Pathfinder Award honorees are selected by the museum’s board of trustees from among candidates nominated by the museum, the Pacific Northwest section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and representatives of leading aviation and aerospace organizations.

Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann is chief pilot, director of Boeing Flight Training, and responsible for the company's operation in 20 campuses globally. She was Boeing's first female test pilot, the first woman to captain a Boeing 747-400, and the first woman to captain a Boeing 777. Joining Boeing in 1974 as a tech aide, Darcy-Hennemann learned to fly through the Boeing Employees Flying Association and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in aeronautics and astronautics engineering from the University of Washington in 1981. She contributed to design, testing, and certification of the Boeing 777 and later models. She commanded a 777-200LR on its 21,602-km flight from Hong Kong to London in 2005, breaking the world distance record and two speed records.

William E. Boeing Jr., has spent a lifetime committed to furthering education and preserving aerospace history, The Museum of Flight said in an announcement. A driving force of The Museum of Flight from its earliest days, Boeing's wide-ranging career has put him in leadership positions from directorships at the Safeco Corp., Pacific National Bank, and Western Bancorp, to the chairman of Aldarra Management Company, to a trustee of Seattle University. But aviation has always held a special place in his life. “He was instrumental in introducing the helicopter to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, and as a trustee of The Museum of Flight, he has led the way in turning the museum from a small, local attraction to one of international importance,” the museum wrote.

Boeing was instrumental in raising funds for the museum’s T. A. Wilson Great Gallery, the Challenger Learning Center, the Tower exhibit, the J. Elroy McCaw Personal Courage Wing, and the Washington Aerospace Scholars. Perhaps most important among his achievements, the museum said, was his leadership in saving, moving, and restoring Boeing’s 1909 original factory, known as the Red Barn—without which the dream of The Museum of Flight may have never been realized.

Clay Lacy was born in Wichita, Kan., and had logged more than 1,500 hours of flight time by the time he turned 19. He was hired by United Airlines in 1952. During the Korean War, Lacy joined the Air National Guard at Van Nuys, Calif., flying North American F-86 and Lockheed T-33 jets, and the Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter. After the war, he flew Convair 340s, Douglas DC-4s, DC-6s, and DC-7s. In 1962, he and Jack Conroy made the first test flight of the Pregnant Guppy, a converted Boeing 377 Stratocruiser designed to make payload flights for NASA. Three years later, he was involved in the development of the Astrovision camera system that has filmed more than 2,800 projects, the museum said. He's also done cinematography for movies such as The Right Stuff, Armageddon, and Top Gun. Lacy has flown more than 300 different aircraft types, has 32 type ratings, and holds 29 current world speed records, including a 36-hour, 54-minute, 15-second, around-the-world Boeing 747 flight in 1988 that raised $530,000 for charity.

Alton Marsh

Alton K. Marsh

Freelance journalist
Alton K. Marsh is a former senior editor of AOPA Pilot and is now a freelance journalist specializing in aviation topics.

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