2001 Inductees  

Dick Hill
Dick Hill was born, raised and lived in the heartland of Illinois all of his life. He has barnstormed, towed banners, made aerial photography flights, and conducted air ambulance services and search and rescue missions. He served as chief pilot, test pilot, ferry pilot, safety pilot, trimotor and airline pilot. During his 55-year aviation career, Hill has been a flight instructor for nearly 50 of those years. He currently holds ATP, CFI-II in ASEL, AMEL, seaplane and helicopter.

As a flight instructor, Dick specialized in a unique type of vintage and military aircraft. He is well known for his checkouts in military singles, Twin Beeches and Bamboo Bombers. If there is anything he hasn't flown, he certainly could, if given the chance.

Dick is best known for his "barnstorming" and buddy rides, giving thousands of free flights to anyone showing an interest in aviation.  He also conducts flight instructions for young people who can't afford lessons. Hill especially enjoys giving rides to persons with disabilities and elderly individuals.

Dick Hill has contributed in all facets of aviation to the preservation of our rich aviation heritage through his lifelong efforts as an historian, pilot and restorer. He has done so in an intense, devoted, yet unassuming, manner.



Ken Medley
Ken Medley is a native of Carbondale where he attended grade school, high school and Southern Illinois University. He learned to fly and earned his private pilot certificate in 1940 while a college student. He continued flight training, earning his commercial pilot certificate and, a week later, his flight instructor rating. He taught in the Civil Pilot Training Program at the Marion Airport, which led to his instructing WWII Army Aviation students. His stature and reputation as a flight instructor grew steadily, and he was selected to train a special squadron of pilots who needed extra help. Every "washed out" student assigned to this part of the program graduated, a career achievement that reflects upon his flight training knowledge and skill.

After aviation service in World War II, Ken returned to Carbondale to earn his college degree. At the same time, he joined three others in creating a flight school and the Carbondale airport. For the next several years he taught flying, flew charter planes and performed aerial demonstrations. He also designed and developed an aviation safety newsletter about accident prevention and airport good-neighbor activities. His writing and teaching style produced such a significant and important message that many of his articles became a part of FAA communications to the aviation community.  

Ken eventually moved from the state when a publishing business took him to Washington, D.C. After retiring from the business, he devoted his energies to promoting aviation and aviation safety. In 1947, Ken was named a designated flight test examiner at Carbondale and is currently an examiner at Dulles International Airport. He is also a long-time FAA Aviation Safety Counselor. As a representative of the AOP A Air Safety Foundation, he has conducted more than 800 safety courses throughout the country. He also teaches at AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics and has made presentations at more than 200 of these weekend courses.


Ken is willing to go anywhere but prefers Illinois. He has taught at Super Safety Seminars in Jacksonville, Champaign and Peoria. Ken also helped in developing a joint effort of aviation education sponsored by the FAA and State of Illinois. Now in its eighth year, this successor program, WINGS, continues to have Ken Medley as a willing participant.

In 1993, he was chosen as FAA National Flight Instructor of the Year. Recognition of Ken's efforts has been received from FAA, EAA, Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Aeronautics, AOPA, Commonwealth of Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and the Civil Air Patrol. He is also an inductee in the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame.



Wally M. Sedgwick
Wally Sedgwick devoted his entire life to teaching others the mystery and joys of flight. A lifetime resident of Illinois, he
began his career with Schumacher Flying Service at Harlem Airport in the 1930s. Later, he became an FAA pilot examiner, flying more than 13,000 flight tests in all categories over a 50-year period. He
served in wartime as a Navy instructor, specializing in glider training. His numerous kudos include several "Instructor of the Year" awards, and FAA and EAA safety awards. Achieving more than 35,000 flying hours, he taught thousands of new pilots who went on to professional flying careers. He had a deep and lasting commitment to general aviation and flight safety and was named Accident Prevention and Safety Counselor by the FAA in 1972.

Some quotes from others about Wally:

"In the history of Illinois aviation, there are many people who contributed much to aviation. However, one has to acknowledge that the pilot who, for many years, faithfully plugged along, day in and day out, to encourage the aviators of tomorrow should have the recognition he so rightly deserves."

"Walter Sedgwick was one of the first enterprising pioneers of aviation, first taking wing when aviation was just dawning. Walter devoted his WHOLE life to aviation. His excellent record, superior performance, loyalty and dedication to aviation has proven to be instrumental in all areas of aviation's horizons during this century and into the next."



Willard Rue "Pete" Taylor
"Pete" Taylor served in the field of aviation and learned to fly in the early 1930s. Because he loved aviation, he eventually became actively involved in promoting it to the DeKalb community.

In 1946, he rented a portion of farmland on which he started a flying operation and erected a small building. His flight program was based on a Piper J-3 Cub in which rides and instruction were given. In late 1947, the airfield was moved to another farm location. Sod runways and tied-down spaces for 12 aircraft were provided. Pete was able to provide charter flights, sell airplane parts, and pursue promotional programs for flying and very early crop dusting.

Pete was always on the move to improve flight programs. When Interstate Aircraft dissolved in 1948, the runway and facilities were purchased by the city of DeKalb, and Taylor became part of a lease agreement. His leadership contributed to the community's progress in flying. Even without funding, boundary lights and a beacon were installed, making night flights possible. Executive flying found its niche at the airport; freight hauling became a reality and special events flourished. He gave unlimited energy and time and carried DeKalb into the age of jets. Pete I also worked with the farm community, Northern Illinois University, industry, business and residents.

He enjoyed working with children, including the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and gave them free airplane rides. He belonged to the Illinois Flying Farmers and AOPA and supported EAA and the 99s. He was a former DeKalb alderman and member of several city committees.

Hill was also a successful Piper Aircraft Dealer and received numerous awards. Leaving airport management, he developed a widely know aircraft parts business. In 1993, the airport was renamed in his honor - DeKalb Taylor Airport.



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