San Diego Air & Space Museum Selects “Class of 2008” Aviation and Space Legends for Induction into the Museum’s International Aerospace Hall of Fame

The 45th Hall of Fame induction will be held Oct. 25 and will honor selected individuals for their historic contributions to aviation, space, or aviation technology.

San Diego, CA – July 21, 2008 – On October 25th, the San Diego Air & Space Museum is honoring national and international air & space legends at its 45th Hall of Fame Induction and Gala. Each honoree was selected for their historic contributions to aviation, space, or aviation technology.

This spectacular evening attracts numerous air and space legends to San Diego and will honor the “Distinguished Class of 2008:” Scott Carpenter, one of the Original Mercury Seven “Right Stuff” Astronauts; The Tuskegee Airmen represented by Roscoe Brown and Lee Archer; John & Martha King, King Schools; Dr. J. Robert Beyster, founder of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC); Steve Pisanos, of the original Eagle Squadrons; and General Bob Cardenas, USAF Flying Wing Test Pilot.

Planned for the evening of October 25, 2008 in the San Diego Air & Space Museum Pavilion of Flight, guests join the honorees for an evening of fun and extraordinary recognition, as each attendee is offered an experiential peek into the lives of these living legends.

“We’re especially pleased to honor the Class of 2008 because these pioneers have not only pushed back the frontiers of air and space exploration, they’ve also become strong positive role models for today’s youth,” said Jim Kidrick, San Diego Air & Space Museum President and CEO. “Aviation and space exploration, as embodied by the people we honor in our Hall of Fame, is a metaphor for the American pioneering spirit. It’s a critical part of our legacy as a world technology leader. We must inspire today’s kids to tackle the tough science, technology, engineering and math challenges, which lie ahead. October 25th will be an evening San Diegans will remember for a long time, and not want to miss. It’s our chance to honor these legends on behalf of every San Diegan.”

The San Diego Air & Space Museum’s International Aerospace Hall of Fame is composed of hundreds of air and space pilots, engineers, inventors and innovators, along with adventurers, scientists and industry leaders. NASA Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts, and Russian cosmonauts are honored in the Hall of Fame, plus famous flying pioneers such as the Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh and Chuck Yeager. Other notable inductees include Jack Northrop, William Boeing, Reuben H. Fleet, Glenn Curtiss, Walter Zable Sr., Fran Bera, Wally Schirra, T. Claude Ryan, Jimmy Doolittle Jr., Frederick Rohr and Waldo Waterman.

“Inspiring kids to undertake tough science and engineering challenges is only the first step,” Kidrick said. “We must also give them the resources they need to complete hard science education majors.”

In November 2006, the San Diego Air & Space Museum launched its Hall of Fame Engineering Scholarship endowment fund drive. A part of the proceeds from the October 2008 Hall of Fame Gala Celebration will be used to build this scholarship fund with the goal of providing a full five year engineering scholarship to a deserving San Diego area graduating high school senior.

The Class of 2008:

CDR Scott Carpenter, USN (Ret)

CDR M. Scott Carpenter, USN-ret, is one the “Original Seven” Mercury astronauts and was the second American to orbit the earth in May 1962. Carpenter’s goal during the three-orbit mission was to demonstrate that astronauts could work in space, a major prerequisite for America’s Apollo moon missions later in the decade.

Tuskegee Airmen

The Tuskegee Airmen was composed of four all African-American fighter squadrons during the Second World War. The unit overcame adversity to become one of the most respected units of the Army Air Corps, shooting down over 100 German Aircraft. Their valiant efforts lead the way to the integration of the armed forces in 1948.

The Kings — King Schools, Inc.

John and Martha King have revolutionized the way pilots learn and are regarded by pilots throughout the world as their personal aviation mentors. For decades they have taught nearly half of the pilots learning to fly in the United States. Each of them has taught more pilots than any other instructor in the history of aviation. They continue to be avid students of aviation and are the first couple to both hold every category and class of FAA rating on their pilot and instructor certificates. Martha is the first and only woman to achieve this.

Dr. John Robert Beyster

Dr. John Robert Beyster is the founder of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) of San Diego, the largest employee-owned research and engineering company in the United States. SAIC is a leading provider of Aerospace, scientific, engineering, systems integration and technical services and solutions, including sophisticated tactical decision aids for fighters, bombers, transport, and rotary wing aircraft.

Colonel Steve Pisanos, USAF (Ret)

Known as “The Flying Greek” Spiros “Steve” Pisanos joined the RAF and flew with the famed Eagle Squadrons, American volunteers flying Spitfires prior to the United States entry into World War II and the war in Europe. Later Steve flew with the US Army Air Force and would become a double ace. After the war he served as a test pilot and saw duty in Vietnam, before retiring as a colonel in 1973.

Brigadier General Robert L. Cardenas, USAF (Ret)

After being shot down as a bomber pilot during World War Two, General Cardenas would become one of the most famous test pilots in US history. A key member of the X-1 supersonic project, he was the command pilot of the B-29 that launched Captain Charles Yeager to become the first human to attain supersonic flight. He then went on to become chief test pilot for the Northrop YB-49 Flying Wing.

The Hall of Fame Gala Celebration is scheduled for Saturday evening, October 25, 2008 in the Pavilion of Flight in the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

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

The San Diego Air & Space Museum is California’s Official Air & Space Museum and Education Center. The Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and it was the first aero-themed museum to be accredited by the American Association of Museums. Currently on display: STAR TREK THE EXHIBITION, an interactive display of Star Trek sets, props, costumes, and memorabilia. Visit for more information. The Museum is located at 2001 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park, San Diego 92101. The Museum and Gift Store are open daily from 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM, with admissions until 5:30 PM. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

More in Home