OSHKOSH, WI. January 29, 2014 – Six aviators will be inducted into the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame (WAHF) at a ceremony this fall. Brig. Gen. Peter Drahn (ret.), Vice Admiral James H. Flatley, Jr., Donald Voland, and brothers James, Ed, and Ray Knaup will be honored for their achievements and significant contributions to aviation in Wisconsin. WAHF President Rose Dorcey commented, “It’s with great pleasure that we announce our 2014 inductees, all of whom have contributed greatly to the development and growth of military, commercial, and civilian aviation in our state and beyond our borders.”
Brigadier General Peter Drahn (Ret.)
Peter Drahn retired in 1994 at the rank of brigadier general after a distinguished 30 year military career as an Air Force and Air National Guard pilot and commander. He then served as director of the Dane County Regional Airport in Madison for more than 20 years. His combat decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, and 17 Air Medals. He has served as chairman of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and as executive director of the Wisconsin Airport Management Association. The Oshkosh native is a 1964 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and holds an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He currently resides in Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin.
Vice Admiral James H. Flatley, Jr.
Admiral James Flatley was a World War II flying ace and Naval tactician. Born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Flatley graduated from St. Norbert College. A 1929 Naval Academy graduate who earned his wings in 1931, he was a Flight Instructor at the Naval Air Advanced Training Command at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola. Among other posts, Flatley served as Commanding Officer of the Naval Air Station, Olathe, Kansas, and in July 1952, assumed command of the USS Block Island. Flatley earned numerous military awards, including the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with Combat “V,” and the Distinguished Flying Cross with two Gold Stars. Flatley died in 1958.
Don was born in Thiensville, Wisconsin, in December 1934. While a student at Iowa State College, Voland earned his private pilot certificate before graduating in 1952. Don graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force soon after. Ordered to active duty in 1957, Don earned his Air Force wings in 1958. During this time, Don procured plans for a Benson Gyrocopter and became one of the earliest builders of the Benson, modifying the control system to provide a conventional control stick rather than the overhead rotor control as designed by Benson. Don flew the gyrocopter until 1960, when he donated it to the Experimental Aircraft Association. His active duty tours took him to Oxnard AFB (California) and subsequently to Korea. He flew single engine and multiengine aircraft as well as helicopters during those duty assignments before completing his USAF career in December 1962.
In 1986, Don formed his own company, Aero Optics Inc. and based it at East Troy Municipal Airport in East Troy, Wisconsin, where he resides. Don currently holds an ATP, Commercial AS/MEL, CFIA, CFII with Rotorcraft-Helicopter and Instrument Ratings. His logbooks reflect more than 60 years of flying and nearly 20,000 hours of total flying time, equally divided between fixed and rotary wing aircraft, with experience in low-level aerial application, seeding, reconnaissance, photo and video work, survey, cable, power line and pipeline patrol, passenger and cargo transport as well as mountain operations. Voland’s civilian flying has been recognized by the Wisconsin Bureau of Wildlife Management “in recognition of his dedication and commitment to conduct and improve upon aerial wildlife surveys…”
James, Ed, and Ray Knaup
The Knaup brothers were born and spent their early years on the north side of Milwaukee; Jim in 1899, Ed in 1901, Ray a few years later. In the late 1920s, the brothers purchased an Eaglerock, with its 90-hp motor and two-seat front cockpit, with plans to start a maintenance shop and air charter service, offering rides to airport visitors. The Knaups incorporated Midwest Airways in September 1927, Jim as president, Ray vice-president, and Ed secretary-treasurer. They took delivery of their first Ryan Brougham in February 1928. In addition to aircraft sales and service, the Knaups offered flight training, aerial photography, and air parcel service. They stayed together until Ray’s untimely death in 1948. Brothers Jim and Ed continued in the aviation industry, and then sold Midwest Airways in the summer of 1966. Jim went west in December 1967, Ed in 1968.
The inductees will be honored at a banquet this October at the EAA Museum in Oshkosh. Details will be announced later this year.
The Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame has inducted more than 100 men and women since it organized in 1985. Its mission is to collect and preserve the history of aviation in Wisconsin, recognize those who made that history, inform others of it, and promote aviation education for future generations.