Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame


Dennis R. Scanlan, Jr
1914 – 1993

. Dennis Scanlan, Jr. was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. He graduated from St. Thomas Academy prep school, then attended St. Thomas College and earned an Aeronautical Engineering Degree from the University of Minnesota in 1939. He joined the US Army Air Corps. He applied for flying control officer school in 1943, and was assigned as control tower operator at the 8th AF base at Alconbury, England. Scanlan returned to the US and joined the Minnesota Air Guard Reserve, finally being discharged in 1948. Having earned his Private license in 1941, Scanlan had joined the staff of Northwest Air Activities, an FBO at St. Paul’s Holman Field. After the war, Scanlan returned to become a partner in Northwestern Aeronautical Corp., then in the business of refurbishing military aircraft for civilian duty. In 1947, Scanlan opened Technical Air Services with Bob McManus operating an airshow and entering a car in the Indianapolis 500 in 1953. He had also worked as a salesman in his father’s surgical instrument manufacturing business before the war and after the war. He spent the remainder of his career manufacturing high quality surgical instruments as Scanlan, International, Inc. Scanlan never lost his enthusiasm for military aviation. He endowed St. Thomas College with a scholarship program and an aviation library; donated his own extensive aviation library to the University of Minnesota’s Aerospace Studies Department; sponsored the publishing of Air Force histories of Air Force Generals LeMay, Eaker and Spaatz and donated the funds to create a replica WWII English control tower at the Air Force Museum. Dennis Scanlan, Jr. was one of the seven investors that made the Minnesota Aviation History Book possible. He also played a major role in the Hall of Fame. His personal fund-raising sponsored the first induction banquet. He served on the Board of Directors until his death in 1993. His personal secretary, Lois Ring, was lent as Hall of Fame secretary for the first five years.

Inducted 2009


Dorothy L. Schaeffer
1914 -2006

Iowa native Dorothy Schaeffer moved to the Twin Cities metro area to find work, landing a job as the airport director’s secretary. She became an expert at all facets of airport operation, dealing with contractors, airlines, the FAA and visiting VIPs.

When she became the assistant airport director, she also became the highest-ranking woman executive at an American airport. She is now retired but continues to serve the airport community through the Metropolitan Public Airport Foundation.

Inducted 1996


Frederick A. Schauss
1904-2004

Schauss built his first airplane in 1929 and learned to fly. By 1935 he had built two more planes. In the 1960s he constructed a Volmer amphibian and advised the Hopkins High School industrial arts class which constructed two class-built aircraft projects.

Schauss carved his own propellers for his home-built planes and became widely known in this fiend. He has since carved hundreds of propellers for others building their planes at home.

Inducted 1994


Claude C. Schmidt
1918 - 2010

Schmidt was born in Hibbing, MN where he worked in the ore mines while attending Hibbing Junior College. He then enrolled at the University of Minnesota and enlisted in the US Navy’s V-5 cadet program. He took training at Pensacola and was assigned to the USS Princeton aircraft carrier, seeing action in the Pacific as a Hellcat pilot. He became an Ace with six enemy aircraft destroyed and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and five Air Medals for the Pacific campaign, retiring as a full Commander. Upon discharge he served with the FAA as Air Carrier Inspector for International Operations and head of Airman Certification. In 1971 Schmidt was hired by the MAC as Director of Environment and Noise Abatement, and later as Director of Operations. He retired in 1984 but was called to serve as interim Executive Director of MAC prior to the hiring of the current director.

Inducted 2009


BRIG. GEN. GEORGE L. SCHULSTAD
1929 –

Schulstad was born in Grand Forks, ND. The family moved to Polk County, Minnesota the following year. He earned a Masters Degree from George Washington University, Washington, DC and attended Harvard Business School. During his youth, he lived in Maple Lake, MN.

Schulstad enlisted in the Air Force and began his military career in 1951. In 1952, he was commissioned and trained in jet fighters. He flew the F-94 all-weather interceptor from McGuire AFB, New Jersey, on patrol over the Atlantic ocean as protection from enemy (Russian) aircraft that might threaten the US. He flew the F-86D in Japan.

Assigned as an exchange pilot with a Canadian F-86D group, Schulstad flew missions from air bases in Germany through 1956. In 1959, flying F-104s from Tyndall AFB, Florida, Schulstad and his unit took part in the annual William Tell aerial competition earning the title of Eastern Air Defense Force Champions. In 1963, Schulstad was assigned as an exchange pilot to the US Navy, where he transitioned to the F-8 Crusader aircraft and became carrier qualified. His ship, the USS Kittyhawk was sent to Southeast Asia in 1964 and Schulstad flew ground attack and flak suppression missions over North Vietnam as a member of VF-111. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and numerous Air Medals.

Schulstad retired from the Air Force in 1977 and makes his home in Irving Texas in the winter and Fertile, Minnesota in the summer.

Inducted 2017


Chadwick B. Smith
1905 - 1931

Chad Smith was born in Iowa, but moved to Minneapolis with his family when he was quite young. He spent 1923 and 1924 with the Army Air Service at Kelly Field, Texas. He returned and obtained a degree in Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota. He joined the 109th Observation Squadron, and set an altitude record of 22,017 feet in a military plane. In 1927, he was hired as a pilot for Northwest Airlines, and set a speed record between La Crosse and Milwaukee. He later set another record in a Ford Trimotor between St. Paul and Chicago. In 1928, he flew over 1173 hours, (an average of 3.2 hours/day,) quite a feat in planes of that period. He gave flight instruction in Northwest Airways Waco trainers as a sideline to his airmail flights. Chad Smith was a brother to twins, Lee and Les Smith, also hired by the airline. His sister, Gladys Roy, was a parachute jumper and wing-walker. Chad became Operations Manager of Northwest Airways in 1931 when Speed Holman was killed in a stunting accident. Chad, himself, died less than four months later, while undergoing an appendix operation.

Inducted 1993


Charles L. "Les" Smith
1907 - 1996

Twin brother to Lee, and younger brother of Chad Smith. Les took his first plane ride with Walter Bullock in 1924. He followed his two brothers in the barnstorming business and was hired by Midwest Air Transport in Madison, Wisconsin when Lee went to work for Northwest Airways. Les followed him there in 1930, being the twelfth pilot hired by Northwest. He also was a member of the 109th Observation Squadron from 1933 to 1937, during which time, he was forced to bail out of an O-38 observation plane. In 1943, he was one of the pilots who flew in a mass transport armada across the mountains from China to India in C-46 aircraft. He retired from Northwest in 1963.

Inducted 1993


Robert L. "Lee" Smith
1907 - 1989

Younger brother of Chad Smith and a twin to Les Smith, Lee graduated from Minneapolis' South High School in 1926. He enlisted in the 109th Observation Squadron as a mechanic, and learned to fly from his older brother, Chad. He ventured to Hibbing, where he took a job with an air taxi service, also doing barnstorming, and instructing. After earning his Transport license, he was hired by Midwest Air Transport in Wisconsin as a general service pilot. In June of 1929, he was hired by Northwest Airways. Lee was the first Northwest pilot to fly on instruments, flying a mail plane between St. Paul and Chicago. He became the Eastern Division Superintendent in 1943, Vice-President of that Region in 1944, and retired in 1967. Lee was one of the founders of ALPA, the Air Line Pilot's Association.

Inducted 1993


Paul A. Soderlind
1923 - 2001

Montana native Paul Soderlind received his private license on his 18th birthday. At age 19 he went to work for Northwest Airlines as an instrument instructor and flew in the Northern Region during World War II. He joined the Navy in 1944 and flew with Naval Air Transport Command.

Soderlind returned to Northwest after the war and developed many safety procedures. He eventually became director of technical flight operations, a unit that plans cockpit procedures. He and Don Sowa produced Northwest’s Turbulence Plot Program to detect wind shear and other high altitude turbulence.

Inducted 1996


Niels Sorensen
1912 - 1993

Minneapolis-born Niels Sorensen became interested in flying in 1930 while working on a farm near Wold-Chamberlain Field. In 1932 he joined the Naval Reserve. He acquired private, commercial and flight examiners licenses; taught flying at Oxboro and Cedar Airports; and set up flying clubs. Later he taught in the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP) through 1941 before serving as a naval aviator, and an aerobatics instructor for the Navy at Minneapolis, St. Louis and Whidbey Island. Toward the end of World War II, he flew patrol bombers in the Aleutians.

Following the war, Sorensen and Ed Sieber opened Lakeland Skyways at Minneapolis and later moved to Crystal Airport. He retired in 1977 after 31 years to build replicas of antique aircraft. He remained active in the aviation business community.

Inducted 2000


Daniel F. Sowa
1923 - 2000

Sowa was born in Montana and studied meteorology at the Spartan School of Aeronautics, Tulsa, Oklahoma. He joined Northwest Airlines in 1945 and worked in Minneapolis, Seattle and Anchorage before becoming meteorology superintendent in 1959.

Under Sowa’s guidance, Northwest became the industry leader in gathering and using weather data. He pioneered studies of low-level wind shear, mountain and clear-air turbulence as well as their effects on airline operations. He also helped develop Northwest’s Turbulence Plot Program, which provided pilots with up-to-the-minute weather warnings and helped Northwest to gain the highest reputation for passenger safety and comfort.

Sowa lectured worldwide, published numerous papers on weather and earned several prestigious awards. He retired in 1986.

Inducted 1995


Camille "Rosie" Stein
1888 - 1954

In the mid-1920s Rosie Stein worked as a secretary for Colonel Lewis Brittin, St. Paul Civic Association head. When Brittin became chief operating officer of the brand-new Northwest Airways in 1926, Rosie went along. She did virtually everything around the airline’s main office including feeding the woodstove, answering phones, purchasing, selling tickets, handling the bookkeeping and keeping things running smoothly.

From 1934 through 1941 she served as both assistant secretary and a director of the airline—one of the first such executives ever with a major airline. In 1939 she became director of passenger services (chief of the cabin attendants) and continued in that role until she retired in 1946.

Rosie died in 1954 but left behind a legacy: her familiar answer every time someone asked her how things were going. She always replied, “Everything’s rosie.”

Inducted 1991


Robert N. Steinbrunn
1946 -

Robert Steinbrunn was born in Pennsylvania. He joined the US Army in 1966 and attended helicopter school at Fort Wolters, TX. He was assigned to the 17th Air Cavalry as a gunship pilot flying the UH-1C “Huey” helicopter at Pleiku, Viet Nam. Following this assignment, he flew in assault helicopters with the 189th Assault Helicopter Company, performing re-supply, artillery spotting, medivac, and troop extraction missions. Among his awards were the Purple Heart and the Air Medal.

Following his combat time, he became a military flight instructor and also earned his civilian ratings. He then worked in the Pacific Northwest as a heavy-lift helicopter pilot. In 1974, Steinbrunn came to the Twin Cities to work for Imperial Airways out of Fleming Field, St. Paul. His assignments included powerline patrol, concrete pouring, tower erection, and eventually with Imperial Airways contracted to North Memorial Hospital, as air ambulance pilot. A few years later, the service was purchased by North Memorial and Steinbrunn began working directly for the hospital. In his military career and his nineteen years as a medivac pilot, Steinbrunn has dedicated his life to his fellow man.

Inducted 2005


Brigadier General Martinus Stenseth
1890 - 1979

Stenseth, who was born in Norman County, Minnesota, enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard in 1916 and took Army officers’ flight training in Ohio. As a member of the 28th Pursuit Squadron in France, he became one of Minnesota’s four World War I aces and scored six aerial victories.

Stenseth made the Air Corps his career and served overseas in Norway, Latvia and the Philippines as well as at several fields in the United States including Kelly, Langley, Selfidge, and the Washington D.C. air base. In the process, he rose to the rank of brigadier general. During World War II he was base commander of Las Vegas Field (now Nellis Air Force Base) from 1941-1943 and then commanded U.S. forces in Iceland. He retired in 1950.

Inducted 1995


Elizabeth Wall Strohfus
1919 - 2015

Faribault native Elizabeth Strohfus learned the thrill of flight after an airplane ride in her teen years. She borrowed money for flying lessons and joined the Civil Air Patrol. During World War II she volunteered for the Army Air Corps and was sent to Sweetwater, Texas as a member of the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots. She volunteered as a gunner but was rated as an instructor. She taught instrument flying to male cadets and later ferried B-17 and AT-6 warbirds around the country.

After the war, Strohfus raised a family and didn’t fly again until she received a 1991 invitation from the Confederate Air Force. She was re-energized and later got a ride in an F-16 fighter. In recent years she has traveled around the state speaking to groups on behalf of women aviators. She is one of Minnesota’s most visible aviation ambassadors.

Inducted 2000


William Bushnell Stout
1880 -1956

Born Quincy, IL. Came to St. Paul in 1897, attended high school and Hamline University where he earned a Mechanical Engineering degree. He designed toys and worked for an auto manufacturer as a tracer of designs. Through correspondence with Octave Chanute became interested in aviation. He taught engineering classes at Mankato and Winona Teachers Colleges and then wrote handyman columns for the St. Paul Pioneer Press under the penname of Jack Kneif.

Moving to Chicago he became the aviation editor of the Chicago Tribune and was hired as chief engineer at the Packard Motor Company, supervising the building of Liberty aircraft engines. He designed several airplanes, including the first all-metal airplane for the US Navy and then the first commercial airliner. Henry Ford became enthused about the airliner and financed Stout and the Ford Trimotor was launched. The Stout Air Service he incorporated became National Air Transport, then United Airlines. A gifted engineer, his schooling in St. Paul nurtured his endless creativity and worldwide fame.

Inducted  2014


Donald L. Stuber  
2007

John and Donald Stuber were born in La Crosse, WI.  John entered the US Army Air Forces in 1941 and was assigned as a flight instructor. In 1958, he came to Bloomington, MN where he lived the rest of his life. He worked at Peavey Airmotive at MSP serving as Manager, VP & General Manager, and finally President. He joined his brother Don in the FBO business American Aviation Company at Flying Cloud Field.

Donald Stuber served in WWII in the Army’s Canine Corps. In 1946, he began work at American Aviation, Inc. at the old University Airport in New Brighton. Don and a partner bought the business in 1951 from the previous owners, named it American Aviation Company and moved it to Flying Cloud Field in Eden Prairie in 1953. Don bought out his partner and invited his brother, John to join the company. The shop provided maintenance and avionics. The two brothers suggested the name Flying Cloud for the field and the city approved it. The shop was well respected in the aviation community and the Stubers honored many times, including the naming by the FAA of the FCM outer marker for runways 9L & 9R as STUBR.

Inducted  2011


John M. Stuber    
1914 - 2008

John and Donald Stuber were born in La Crosse, WI.  John entered the US Army Air Forces in 1941 and was assigned as a flight instructor. In 1958, he came to Bloomington, MN where he lived the rest of his life. He worked at Peavey Airmotive at MSP serving as Manager, VP & General Manager, and finally President. He joined his brother Don in the FBO business American Aviation Company at Flying Cloud Field.

Donald Stuber served in WWII in the Army’s Canine Corps. In 1946, he began work at American Aviation, Inc. at the old University Airport in New Brighton. Don and a partner bought the business in 1951 from the previous owners, named it American Aviation Company and moved it to Flying Cloud Field in Eden Prairie in 1953. Don bought out his partner and invited his brother, John to join the company. The shop provided maintenance and avionics. The two brothers suggested the name Flying Cloud for the field and the city approved it. The shop was well respected in the aviation community and the Stubers honored many times, including the naming by the FAA of the FCM outer marker for runways 9L & 9R as STUBR.

Inducted  2011


Bernard "Bud" Sweet
1923 -

Cincinnati-born Bud Sweet served in the Air Corps in World War II before attending the University of Wisconsin. He lectured on airline regulation and worked as a general accountant for Wisconsin Central Airlines in 1948. He rose through the ranks, becoming assistant treasurer, secretary-treasurer, vice president and finally president and CEO in 1976.

Before he retired in 1984, Sweet helped Wisconsin-Central become North Central Airlines, forged a merger with Southern to become Republic Airlines, and helped his growing airline absorb Hughes Airwest.

Inducted 1999



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