San Diego Air & Space Museum Selects "Class of 2009" Aviation and Space Legends for Induction into the Museum's International Aerospace Hall of Fame

On Nov. 21, the San Diego Air & Space Museum is honoring national and international air and space legends at its 46th Hall of Fame Induction and Gala. Each honoree was selected for their historic contributions to aviation, space, or aviation technology.

Cliff Robertson Robertson is a pilot, Academy Award and Emmy-Award-winning screen star as well as founder of the Cliff Robertson Work Experience, within the EAA. He has owned several de Havilland Tiger Moths, a Messerschmitt Bf 109 and a Supermarine Spitfire. Perhaps he is best known for starring in Charly, an adaptation of Flowers for Algernon for which he won the 1968 Academy Award for Best Actor. Other films included Picnic, Sunday in New York, Autumn Leaves, Too Late the Hero, Three Days of the Condor, Obsession, J. W. Coop, Star 80 and Malone. More recently, Robertson's career has had a resurgence. He appeared as Uncle Ben Parker in the first movie adaptation of Spider-Man, as well as in the sequels Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3. In 1969, Robertson helped organize an effort to fly food and medical supplies to war ravaged Biafra, Nigeria. When a famine hit Ethiopia in 1978, Robertson again organized relief flights of supplies to that country. He's dedicated to helping others experience the joy of flight. Robertson takes an active part in the Cliff Robertson Work Experience Program. Each summer, two youths, 16 or 17 years old, are invited to Oshkosh, through the EAA Air Academy, where they work for ground and flight instruction. The EAA's Young Eagles program began in 1992 with Robertson as its first honorary chairman. In 1999, he helped kick off the EAA’s campaign, "Vision of Eagles," a unique set of initiatives designed to educate, motivate and provide direction to young people through aviation-based activities.

Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) and the predecessor groups the Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) and the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) were pioneering organizations of civilian female pilots employed to fly military aircraft under the direction of the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. The female pilots would number thousands, each freeing a male pilot for combat service. The WFTD and WAFS were combined on August 5, 1943 to create the WASP organization. Almost every type of aircraft flown by the USAAF during World War II, including the early U.S. jet aircraft, was also flown by women in these roles. Between September 1942 and December 1944, the WASP delivered 12,650 aircraft of 78 different types. Over fifty percent of the ferrying of combat aircraft within the United States during the war was carried out by WASP. Thirty-eight WASP fliers lost their lives while serving their country during the war. The sacrifice and determination that these women showed during World War Two would be a key factor in the eventual integration of women into the Air Force.

Frank Robinson is an engineer and the founder, president and Chief Executive Officer of Robinson Helicopter Company of Torrance, California. He designed the Robinson R22 helicopter, a popular, light, two-place civilian aircraft in the early 1970s. The first production R22 was delivered in late 1979, and the R22 soon became the world's top selling civil helicopter. In addition, the R22 holds most world records in its weight class including speed and altitude. In the mid-1980s, Robinson and his staff of engineers began development of the four-seat R44 helicopter, which he flew on its first flight in March of 1990. FAA certification was received in late 1992, and production deliveries began in 1993. By early 2007, more than 3,000 R44 helicopters had been delivered to over 70 countries, with the R44 becoming even more popular than the two-seat R22. Robinson remains active in his company and continues to refine the R22 and R44 to enhance performance and reduce maintenance requirements. Recent improvements include the more powerful, fuel-injected R44 Raven II. Today, Robinson oversees the company's development of its first turbine helicopter, the five-place R66. The R66 made its first flight on 07 November 2007, and is currently undergoing FAA type certification. Robinson is a recipient of the Howard Hughes Memorial Award from the Southern California Aeronautic Association given "to an aerospace leader whose accomplishments over a long career have contributed significantly to the advancement of aviation or space technology."

The Hall of Fame Gala Celebration is scheduled for Saturday evening, November 21 in the Pavilion of Flight in the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

For more information please call (619) 234-8291 or visit

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