The National Aviation Hall of Fame has selected four air and space pioneers to join the ranks of the 225 men and women already enshrined, including Robert N. Hartzell, whose propellers spurred the development of general aviation.
Hartzell is among two inductees being honored posthumously, along with Abe Silverstein, who is credited as an architect of the American space program. Another veteran of that program, Eugene “Gene” Kranz, flew fighters in Korea and served as a U.S. Air Force flight test engineer before working his way up through the ranks at NASA. Kranz was flight director of the Apollo program, and NASA director of mission operations, and will also be inducted in 2015, along with retired U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert L. Cardenas.
Cardenas' flying career included B-24 combat missions over Europe in World War II, and continued into the supersonic age. Cardenas flew the B-29 from which the supersonic X-1 was launched, and was chief pilot for the XB-49 flying wing program. He also commanded a combat wing of F-105s in Southeast Asia, and went on to lead the Air Force Special Operations Force, according to the announcement from the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio.
An enshrinement ceremony is planned Oct. 2, 2015, at the hall’s learning center, adjacent to the National Museum of the United States Air Force. The four men to be honored were chosen by a board of nominations composed of more than 120 aviation professionals. The hall was founded in 1962.
Hartzell, who was a neighbor of Orville Wright, began crafting wooden propellers for the Wrights in 1917, and also provided propellers used on Liberty aircraft in World War I. The company remains in business and has produced propellers that powered several notable aviation milestones, including the Rutan Voyager.