Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame

John H. Wastvedt
1922 – 2014

Born in Hawley, Minnesota, Wastvedt was inspired by Charles Lindbergh’s flight. He enlisted in the US Navy in 1941 and joined VMF-124 in 1945, flying missions from the carrier Essex in the Pacific. Following the war, he served with the Marine Reserve based at Minneapolis, becoming Commanding Officer and retired as a Colonel.

After WWII, Wastvedt attended the University of Minnesota, earning a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He worked for the Honeywell Corporation for the next 30 years. After briefly owning Blackhawk Airlines in 1978, he became Director of Flight Operations for AirFreight Express from 1981 through 1986. He later partnered in a charter flying organization, serving as a pilot and later Director of Operations. He was a founding member of the Minnesota Soaring Club and a flight examiner. He is currently a shareholder of the Stanton Airport Corporation.  

Inducted – 2014

Joseph F. Westover
1890 - 1962 -

Westover began as a barnstorming parachute jumper before joining the US Air Service as a mechanic in World War I. After the war he worked for the Glenn Curtiss Company in New York and joined the aerial circus troupe of Ruth Law. He accompanied her across the country, finding his way to Minnesota.

Westover then went to work for the Curtiss-Northwest Company of William Kidder in St. Paul. He joined the 109th Air Guard Squadron and served ten years. He founded his own aerial circus, which performed at the Minnesota State Fair twice. He also appeared as an aerial stuntman with Gladys Roy as wing-walker.

In 1928 Westover went to work for Universal Air Lines as a fleet maintenance supervisor. When Universal merged into the American Airline system, he graduated to the position of line pilot. He was also a skilled aerial photographer while serving with the Air Guard.

Inducted 1994

Duane P.“DOC” Wething   
1927 –

Born in Fergus Falls, Mn. Wething soloed in 1943 and enlisted in the Army Air Corps, becoming a weather observer. Upon discharge, he began flying from the Detroit Lakes Airport and made it his personal quest to push its development. He became a member of the Detroit Lakes Airport Commission and served fifty years in this capacity, lobbying for State and local funding for improvements and pulling people together to accomplish the airport’s move into the 21st century. The airport is named in his honor Detroit Lakes Airport-Wething Field. Wething constructed his own homebuilt aircraft in 1996 and has rebuilt several classic aircraft. He helped form the local Civil Air Patrol unit and remains active in it. He also served on the DL City Council. Wething’s career was in chiropractics.

Inducted  2012

Edna Gardner Whyte
1902 - 1992

Born in Garden City, Minnesota, Edna Gardner Whyte received her private license in 1929. She became a Navy nurse and at the same time, instructed at several airports around the Washington, DC area, having been the country's first licensed female flight instructor. She applied for an airline position in 1933 but no airline would hire her in a male-dominated occupation, a slight she never forgot. She instructed in the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP) and the War Training Service (WTS), then served in WWII as an Air Corps flight nurse and co-pilot. After the war, she taught returning servicemen to fly under the GI Bill and married a flight instructor. After his death, she opened the Aero Valley Airport at Roanoke, Texas where she continued to teach until her own death in 1992, logging over 33,000 hours and instructing over 4800 students.

Inducted 2002

 Noel Wien
1899 - 1977

From Cook, Minnesota, Wien attended Dunwoody Institute to take up mechanics. Ray Miller taught him to fly in 1921 after which he went barnstorming with Clarence Hinck's Federated Flyers aerial circus. Wien saw an opportunity to fly in Alaska and migrated there with his brothers in 1927 and established Wien Alaska Airlines. Among other adventures, Wien became the first to fly across the Bering Straits. His flying continued even when temperatures reached 66 below zero, over solid ground fog, or under ceilings that nearly touched the ground. With one name or another, Wien's airlines have been flying in Alaska from 1927 to this day. Probably no other flyer's name is more synonymous with Alaskan flying than that of Noel Wien.

Inducted 1989

 Bernard A. "Ben" Wiplinger
1915 - 1992

St. Paul native Ben Wiplinger’s interest in aviation began with Lindbergh’s flight in 1927. At age 17 he built a Pietenpol airplane. He studied aeronautical engineering at the University of Minnesota before working for Douglas Aircraft in California. He served as a mechanic in the Air Corps during World War II.

After the war he went into the aircraft maintenance business in St. Paul, refurbishing and selling surplus aircraft. He also developed a hydraulic system for amphibious aircraft floats. His innovative float design and manufacturing techniques brought him international fame.

Inducted 1999

 Colonel Kenneth O. Wofford
1922 - 2010

Oklahoma native Kenneth Wofford trained at Tuskegee Army Airfield, Alabama, and served with the 99th Fighter Squadron. He held many command positions before retiring to work for the Mn/DOT Aeronautics Office. During and after this second career he pursued youth aviation education, urging youth to finish school and study technology. He served as a consultant, mentor and administrator for both local and national youth programs as a career day speaker, Boy Scout mentor, Junior College ROTC program advisor, Air Guard Museum docent and Civil Air Patrol educator. He also served as the Air Force Association’s education advocate.

Inducted 1999

Ernest Groves Wold
1897 - 1918

Wold was from a family of wealthy Minneapolis bankers. He went to France as an aviator with the French Lafayette Flying Corps and flew as an observation pilot over enemy lines, photographing positions. He shot down at least one aircraft, according to reports, but was himself shot down in aerial combat. Wold-Chamberlain (now known as Minneapolis-St. Paul International) Airport is named after him.

Inducted 1989

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