The Following Are Trubutes to Our Speakers Gone West



In Memory of Chas Harral

9-15-1939 to 6-27-2002









He was affectionately called ‘Bad Chas’, a nickname he earned for shutting down one engine on unsuspecting applicants during multi-engine check rides. He was loved and respected by the thousands in his audiences and his hundreds of flight students, many of them now flying heavy iron. 

‘Bad Chas’ was a teddy bear of a guy—bright, articulate, funny and generous. 

On June 27, we lost one of our finest speakers. Chas amazed the medical community, putting up a valiant fight with painful pancreatic cancer for nearly a year. His beautiful, loving wife and constant companion, Von, said he never complained and he never questioned, ‘Why me’?” But those that knew Chas well wouldn’t be surprised in this. In his life, Chas just never did complain.

Chas was best known for his gripping presentation on awareness and personal vigilance known as The Color Code System. In addition to his personal appearances, this safety program is broadcast on satellite television to subscribing cities and governments. Chas had a uniquely dramatic way of speaking, using vivid mind pictures. Clients claim his safety program has saved them millions of dollars, injuries and lives. Here at the bureau, we felt good when booking his programs as we might then help to save injury and lives too. His banquet keynote program, As The Examiner Sees It, would get the pilots howling with laughter. Chas would tell his humorous aviation stories gathered in his 20 years of flights as an FAA designated pilot examiner. 


Chas taught hundreds of aviation safety courses across the United States including many Flight Instructor Revalidation Clinics for AOPA’s Air Safety Foundation. After discovering aviation in 1962, he became a Flight Instructor in 1963. He opened his own flight school in 1967, which eventually grew into one of the largest operations of its kind in the southwest. In his fleet, a P-51 Mustang was one of his favorites to fly. Chas safely logged in excess of 13,000 hours of flight time, gave 9,000 hours of flight instruction, and administered more than 5,000 flight tests for pilot certificates and ratings. 





In memory of Cliff Robertson

Celebrity, Aviator, September 9, 1923 to September 10, 2011








After a brief journalistic career, Cliff Robertson began his acting career on Broadway in the mid fifties. Singled out for his promising work on the stage, the young actor was chosen by Joshua Logan to appear in his first motion picture, Picnic, in the late fifties. Mr. Robertson continued his theatrical work on Broadway between his motion picture career.


The late President Kennedy personally chose Mr. Robertson to portray his exploits as a naval Lieutenant in the Warner Brothers production of PT-109. Having starred in over 45 major motion pictures, numerous television programs and Broadway plays, Cliff received the Academy Award as “Best Actor in a leading role” for his starring role in the film Charly.


Cliff is an active airplane and glider pilot. He maintains a stable of antique vintage aircraft and is active in his support of aviation. His work on behalf of the Experimental Aircraft Association helped launched and promote the Young Eagles program.






In memory of Denny Fitch

Inspirational, Motivational, CRM















Mr. Fitch is a B-777 Captain for United Airlines. He received a B.S. degree from Duquesne University and his flight training from the United States Air Force. He is President of D.E. Fitch & Associates, Ltd., an aviation consulting firm specializing in Cockpit Resource Management and human factors. Captain Fitch has had the unique experience of crash landing a DC-10 that lost all hydraulics and all flight controls. He and the crew hold the distinguished record of the longest time aloft without flight controls who lived to tell about it.

Captain Fitch has been commended by President George Bush and is the recipient of Senate Resolution 174, 101st Congress for his outstanding effort, poise and courage in assisting the crew in attempting a difficult emergency landing of United Flight 232 at Sioux City, Iowa. He has given numerous presentations to various corporate aviation departments and is also in demand for his inspirational and motivational programs.


Captain Fitch is recognized for his extensive experience as a fight instructor and check airman. He has accumulated over 20,000 hours of flight time and is an FAA check pilot designee. He is also a safety consultant to NASA as a member of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel. Captain Fitch has also been inducted into the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.






In memory of Brigadier GeneralRobin Olds

USAF (Ret.)Triple Ace,

Motivational, Inspirational
















Brigadier General Robin Olds is rated a triple ace, having a World War II tally of 13 aerials, 11.5 during airfield strafing runs and, in North Vietnam, four confirmed aerials destroying two MiG 17s and two MiG 21s. In his 30 years of U.S. Air Force service, he flew some 65 different aircraft, including the Spitfire and Typhoon, the P-51, P-80, F-86, Gloster Meteor, F-101C, P-38, F-4 and many other aircraft. Combat missions included 107 in two tours during World War II and 152 in Vietnam, of which 115 were over North Vietnam. He earned his second oak leaf cluster to the Silver Star on January 2, 1967 during his famous “MiG Sweep.”


His third oak leaf cluster to the Silver Star was for “exemplary airmanship, extraordinary heroism and indomitable aggressiveness” in a low-level bombing run against the Thai Ngyen steel mill blast furnaces. He was awarded the Air Force Cross for his part in the famous Paul Doumier Bridge Raid. “General Olds is one of the top Air Force leaders in American history,” states General Steve Ritchie. He is one of our best-loved military leaders. Robin is a powerful, charismatic and witty speaker. 



Air Force Cross


Distinguished Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster


Silver Star with three oak leaf clusters


Distinguished Flying Cross with five oak leaf clusters


Air Medal with 40 oak leaf clusters


Distinguished Flying Cross (RAF)


Croix de Guerre (France)


Distinguished Service Order (South Vietnam Air Force)


Air Gallantry Medal with Gold Wings (South Vietnam)





In memory of Scott Crossfield

Test Pilot,












Scott Crossfield is best known for being the first to fly Mach 2 and also the first to successfully fly Mach 3. He flew most of the Research Airplanes, including first flights in the T-39 and the X-15. Scott has received an incredible number of honors and awards for his many contributions to aviation.


His list of accomplishments and credentials are mind boggling. He has a Masters degree in Aeronautical Engineering and a varied professional career. He was a Navy fighter pilot, a Chief Wind Tunnel Operator, a Chief Engineering Test Pilot, an Apollo Program System Director, a Technical Director and held several Vice President positions—all in government and industry. He was a Technical Advisor on aerospace for the U.S. Congress.


His presentation Onward and Upward is a fascinating program on the men and machines of the most productive government research program of record. One that brought us to the threshold of space.





In memory of Captain Dave Gwinn

Radar Expert, Aviation Humorist









Retired airline captain, Dave Gwinn is an aviation journalist, speaker and educator. He holds seventeen pilot ratings, including five current CFI licenses. Dave has been Chief Flight Instructor and General Manager of a 450-student flight training facility, a corporate pilot, a police helicopter instructor and instructed in gyroplanes, gliders and seaplanes. For eleven years, TWA assigned him to the pilot training center teaching and developing training programs for the B707, B727, B767, L1011 and the DC-80. 

Dave’s Weather Radar Seminars are internationally respected. He has presented radar and wind shear training to thousands of pilots in the nation’s top corporate flight departments, Part 121 carriers and the military. His seminars have been used as the basis for training developed by three major carriers and two regional airlines. 

Dave has a thorough knowledge of his subject and he has the practical experience needed to effectively teach it. He simplifies a difficult topic and keeps the pilots awake and learning with his quick wit and humor. Mr. Gwinn has appeared in Federal Courts as an expert witness in major air carrier mishap litigation, always in the defense of pilots. 

Dave has appeared on the Wonderful World of Flyingvideo magazine and Pilots Audio Update. He has written dozens of articles for aviation publications, including Flight Training, IFR, the Navy’s Approach, and a monthly column in Plane and Pilot Magazine. 

On the lighter side, Dave’s Skytalk Humorpresentation is just for fun. His humorous tales are gathered from being the instigator, recipient and rarely as an innocent bystander for good stories, humorous exchanges and practical jokes.

His Aviation Safety talk is good for pilots of any experience. Dave is a speaker with The Aviation Speakers Bureau. 

Sharing a wealth of aviation experience and humor, Dave Gwinn says “Learning can be fun -- and should be!” 





In memory of Pete Campbell

Aviation Humorist, Safety Expert










Pete Campbell passed away in his sleep on Christmas Eve in 1999 at the age of 79. Aviation lost an icon. With his wild aviation stories and bold sense of humor, Pete was a character and pilots just loved him. He had such a joy for life. If Pete was in the room, there would be laughter. He logged 22,000 hours flying airplanes (piston and jet), gliders, rotorcraft, balloons and ultra lights. He flew 56 South Pacific combat missions in a B-24 and was still flying acrobatic shows in his Cessna 150 in his seventies.

As an FAA employee, Pete was the major instigator of the Flight Instructor Revalidation Clinics and the FAA Accident Prevention Programs. Pete would say, “You can’t prove that penalizing a pilot improves safety, but I can prove that education does!” And he did. The numbers proved him right. One cannot fathom how many pilots he has touched with his safety messages as each instructor has passed these lessons on to their students, and their students to the next generation. He taught hundreds of aviation safety seminars and gave 2,800 lectures to 28,000 CFIs across the country.


The Everett-Stewart Airport Terminal in Tennessee was named the Pete Campbell Terminal, honoring his tremendous contributions to aviation. Pete taught us well. He made us laugh like no other could. His incredible contribution to aviation safety is mind-boggling. We will miss you Pete.  




In memory of William Lishman





Bill is a pilot, artist, sculptor, filmmaker, author, inventor, naturalist and entrepreneur.  In 1988, Bill raised a flock of Canada geese, imprinted them to an ultralight aircraft he designed and built, and flew with the birds around southern Ontario. The success of this work lead to conducting a migration experiment by leading flocks of Canada geese on their journey south by acting as surrogate parents. The experiment was documented by ABC's 20/20 and captured the attention of biologists around the world. The aircraft-led migrations were successful in that the birds learned a safe migration route. This technique could be utilized to restore threatened or endangered migratory waterfowl, which have ceased to migrate.

Bill documented his first flights with Canada geese in the award winning video C'mon Geese. His first book about his work with the geese is in the curriculum of many US public schools. Columbia Pictures produced a feature film entitled Fly Away Home inspired by his career. Bill not only consulted for filming, but also was the stunt double for the lead actor, Jeff Daniels--who was playing Bill! His autobiography FATHER GOOSE (published by McArthur & Company and Crown Publishers) is on the best seller list.

In 1995, the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association highest honor, the prestigious AOPA Award, was presented to Bill. In 1996, he received Odessy of The Mind's prestigious Creativity Award (previous recipients have been Walt Disney, Chuck Jones, and NASA). Bill's 21st century earth-integrated domed home has been featured in Equinox and Harrowsmith magazine for its innovative design. His sculptures are displayed in television commercials, IMAX films The Last Buffalo and Titanica, the Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame, Canada's Wonderland and EXPO ’86.


In memory of Bob Hoover

Airshow Performer/ Testpilot







Hoover learned to fly at Nashville's Berry field. He worked at a grocery store to earn the money required for flight instructions. Almost immediately, he began to try his hand at rolls and loops and taught himself aerobatics. The young pilot enlisted in the Tennessee National Guard and was later sent to Army Pilot Training.

   After Hoover graduated, he was sent to England. Then after the invasion of North Africa by the Allies, he was sent to Casablanca where he tested all types of airplanes that had been transported overseas on ships, then assembled.    Bob was 21 years old at the time. He then obtained an assignment with the 52nd Fighter Group stationed in Sicily, one of the two Spitfire outfits in the Army's air forces. He flew 58 successful missions, but was shot down on the 59th off the coast of Southern France. Hoover spent 16 months in Stalag Luft 1, a German prison camp.

   Upon returning to the U.S. following the war's end in Europe, Bob was assigned to the Flight Test Division at Wright field, where he test flew for evaluation many of the captured Japanese and German airplanes. He also flew the latest aircraft being tested for our own Air Force. In 1948, he accepted a position with General Motors as a test pilot for high altitude performance testing of Allison jet engines and the development of propellers.

   In 1950, Hoover was hired by North American Aviation to do experimental flight testing on all models of the F-86 Sabre jet and the Navy FJ-2 jet fighter and later on, the famous F-100. During these early days with North American, he demonstrated safe handling and flying qualities on F-86 and F-100 series fighters to pilots all over the world. Beyond the normal call of duty, he also flew combat dive bombing missions with Air Force squadrons in Korea, demonstrating the capabilities of the F-86 over enemy territory.

   He was the first man to fly the XFJ-2 Fury Jet and the Navy's T-28 trainer and has also set a number of world aviation records including three climb to altitude records of a turbo prop Commander, performed at the Hanover Air Show in West Germany in April 1978. Another coast-to-coast record was set in a P-51 in five hours and 20 minutes from Los Angeles, California to Daytona Beach, Florida in 1985. Hoover also holds a number of world records in jet aircraft and was also awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Soldier's Medal, Air Medal and Purple Heart. He was presented the Aviation Pioneer Award as the world's most notable, decorated and respected living pilot by Parks College in St. Louis.

   He received the Arthur Godfrey Aviation Award from the Minneapolis Aquatennial for accomplishments in flight testing. In 1981, he received the Flying Tiger Pilot Award for his outstanding contribution to aviation. The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce awarded him the 1982 Kitty Hawk Award. That same year he received the Wilkinson Silver Sword for his airshow work. He received the Lindbergh Award at the Smithsonian in May of 1986. In August of 1986, Hoover was honored during Bob Hoover Day at the 34th Annual Oshkosh Celebration by the Experimental Aircraft Association ("EAX). He is also an Honorary Member of the Fighter Aces Association and the Eagle Squadron Association. In July of 1988, Bob was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio along with other aviation and space pioneers such as; Neil Armstrong, James Doolittle, Barry Goldwater, Charles Lindbergh, Eddie Rickenbacker, The Wright Brothers, Chuck Yeager, Richard Byrd and Howard Hughes.

   Hoover served as the back-up and chase pilot to General Chuck Yeager on the X-1flights. Yeager participated in the EAA program honoring Hoover along with other leading citizens of the aviation community.

The recipient of countless awards and honors, Hoover is the only man to serve two terms as President of the exclusive Society of Experimental Test Pilots. He was the Captain of the United States Aerobatic Team, which participated in the 1966 International Competition in Moscow.

   In 1988, 1989 and 1990 he was selected as the most outstanding airshow performer of the year and received the number one Showmanship Award from the International Council of Air Shows for 1989. He was presented with the annual Cliff Henderson Memorial Award for contributions to aviation for 1989 at the Ohio Hall of Fame.

   Bob Hoover, in over fifty years of flying, has performed many thousands of times in more different types of aircraft, in more countries and before many more millions of people than any other pilot in the history of aviation.

   At the bureau he is known as ‘Gentleman Bob’. He is a soft-spoken, honorable man, tall and lean, and he continues to amaze his peers and fans alike for the remarkable enthusiasm he still holds for flying as well as his management activities. His book Forever Flying (1996 Pocket Books) is an aviation must read.


In memory of William G Rheams

Aviation Story Teller




 William G. (Bill) Rheams’ first ride aloft was in a Ford Tri-motor in 1929. He flew the B-17 in World War II, again in Air Rescue - with a 35 foot boat slung under it - and on the Atlantic Missile Range in support of the missile launches from Cape Canaveral. He flew several thousands of hours all over the world in dozens of aircraft types, primarily heavy, four to ten engine bombers and transport aircraft. Bill owned the XC-99, the cargo version of the B-36, with six engines on the back of the wings pushing. It had multiple decks and would carry 100,000 pounds of cargo 8,000 miles non-stop. At the time, the XC-99 was the largest aircraft ever to fly operationally. Bill has spent a lifetime in aviation: as a pilot and as a specialist in the recovery of people, missile capsules, nose cones, and various things dropped in the ocean--not always where they were supposed to be. He has acted as a consultant to several airlines in the United States and in Latin America, and has owned, at one time or another, a couple of his own airlines. Rheams is well qualified to tell and write Outrageous Airplane Stories. He brings his peculiar sense of humor to these stories. He is as fascinated by aviation as he was on the day he soloed, fifty-five years ago. Bill says, ?Nothing ordinary has ever happened to me.?


In memory of Robert J. Gilliland

Test Pilot, Historical

May 1, 1926 to July 4, 2019

Bob Gilliland has logged more experimental supersonic flight test time above Mach 2 and Mach 3 than any other pilot. He is a Naval Academy graduate and was a combat jet fighter pilot in Korea, he helped introduce the first American Jets in Europe. As project test pilot for the Lockheed SR-71, he was the first to fly the aircraft. It roared skyward amid the purple-orange blast of maximum afterburner on its maiden flight December 22, 1964. Working with KellyJohnson, the Skunk Works founder and his small group of engineers, Bob was the first to achieve full envelope expansion of speed and altitude in both the SR-71A and SR-71B. Prior to involvement with the A-11/A-12, YF-12A and SR-71, Bob was a Lockheed company test pilot in the F-104 Starfighter at Palmdale, Edwards AFB and in Europe. He held the Kincheloe award as top test pilot by the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and was a trustee of ANA (Association of Naval Aviation). Anyone who heard Bob’s presentation of The Supersonic Age, The Lockheed Skunk Works or Test Piloting left awed, amazed, entertained and educated.


In memory of Dr. Jerry Cockrell

Humorist, Aviation Safety, CRM

July 23, 1943 to September 12, 2021




























Dr. Jerry Cockrell was a 20,000-hour airline pilot. He was one of aviation's favorite humorists. Known for his funny sick-sack routine, his Ph.D. was in psychology and education and he was an early developer of CRM. Jerry was a B-737 Captain, international B-747-400 pilot, CRM & Check Airman Instructor, B-737 Simulator Instructor, and a CFI and AGI ratings. Jerry served in the USAF and was a Viet Nam veteran. The Aviation Speakers Bureau had the pleasure of booking Jerry for 35 years. He spoke in all 50 states and in England, Germany, Holland, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Canada and Australia delivering over 3,000 safety and humorous presentations. In the 70's, he taught for the Air Safety Foundation (a division of AOPA) teaching FIRCs and various programs. He was a National Accident Prevention Counselor appointed by the FAA in Washington D. C.


In memory of Captain Al C. Haynes

Aviation Safety

August 31, 1931 to August 25, 2019

Capt. Haynes gave 2,000 safety presentations, earning money for various charities. He never accepting any money for himself. Al did not want to be called a hero, but he was certainly the best of the best and a gentleman admired by pilots and nonpilots alike.

On July 19, 1989, UA 232 departed DEN at 2:09 p.m. and climbed to 37,000 feet. At 3:16 p.m. the flight radioed MN ATC the number 2 engine had FAILED and the aircraft was marginally controllable. Al Haynes was the Captain of that infamous flight. Capt. Haynes said that 184 people survived due to five main factors: Luck, Communications, Preparation, Execution, and Cooperation. He never mentioned that part of that luck was that he was the captain. His fellow pilots enjoyed flying with him as he was capable, but unassuming. He was generous with a wonderful sense of humor. A good cockpit atmosphere is conducive to excellence in teamwork or CRM. Luck brought that flight a highly skilled, cool-under-fire, respected captain.

Capt. Haynes was born in Paris, TX, attended Texas A&M, afterward then flew as a Marine Aviator until 1956 when he was hired by United Airlines. He flew the DC-6, DC-7, DC-8, Boeing 727, and DC-10 until he retired in 1991, after flying over 27,000 hours. Al was a volunteer umpire for Little League Baseball for the past 40 years and a volunteer stadium announcer for high school football for 35 years.


In memory of Danny Cox

Flew West, November 21, 2021

Danny Cox was a spitfire. He called himself an accelerationist, as he caused faster movement, higher efficiency and increased productivity. He flew supersonic all-weather fighters in the USAF for 10 years. Danny was a test pilot and air show pilot He spoke to groups in local cities where they suffered sonic booms. He was known as The Sonic Boom Salesman. After the Air Force, Danny joined a large sales company. Promoted to sales manager a year later, he led his office to quadrupling records. Four years later, as VP assigned to 8 offices, he taught leadership principles to 8 branch managers. In 5 years, production increased 800%. With the demands for leadership and teamwork techniques in all businesses, Danny packed his bags and traveled the world sharing his techniques. Danny authored several books, including Leadership When the Heat's On, Seize The Day: 7 Steps to Achieving the Extraordinary in an Ordinary World and There Are No Limits: Breaking The Barriers In Personal High




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