Growing up on a farm in central Illinois, Bill began to learn to fly
at the age of 13 in a Piper Cub. He opened a crop dusting service in
Danville in 1949. By the mid-fifties, Bill became the FBO at Vermilion
County Airport in Danville. The charter segment of his FBO grew as he
filled in for Lake Central and Ozark Airlines with commuter flights.
This led to the formation of Britt Airlines that grew to over 1,000 employees
and 47 turbo-prop and jet aircraft. Operating without any subsidies,
Britt Airlines carried almost 1.3 million passengers a year and was the
second busiest carrier at O'Hare. The hallmark of Britt Airlines was
that his entire family was involved in the operation of the business
and he generously developed a full benefit package for his employees.
While operating Britt Airlines, Bill designed several retro-fits for
Beech-18 and B-99 aircraft. Bill gave back to the community in using
his aircraft to support Lifeline. When Britt Airlines was sold in the
80's, Bill remained active in aviation. He still maintains his A/P Certificate.
Bill has built two airplanes, one of which he is in the process
of donating to the museum at Rantoul.
From the beginning of her flying career, Linda developed a fondness for
aerobatic flying. She used that love to become an innovator and role
model for all pilots, especially women. As the first woman President
of the International Aerobatic Club, she increased membership, established
a standard aerobatic program, and reviewed the FAA Guidelines for Aerobatic
Competition. Linda also was a volunteer in the "99's" and chaired
several of their events and air races. She has served on the EAA Board
of Directors, helped establish the Professional Airshow Pilots Association,
and helped develop the FAA Wings Program. She was recognized by the FAA
for her efforts in assisting a lost pilot and she received numerous other
honors from the IAC and the National Aeronautic Association. She is a
ground school instructor through her local community college as well
as a single and multi-engine flight instructor. Linda is past chairman
of the Illinois Aviation Forum and the Hall of Fame.
While not employed directly in the aviation industry,
Jayne used her position as an instructor in the
computer science department at Western Illinois
University to develop and present workshops and
outreach activities that encourage faculty and
others to share in her passion of flying. Jayne
literally became an aviation educator for educators.
She served with the Ninety-Nines and was a charter
member of Women in Aviation, Inc.
being selected as the first woman commissioner to
the Macomb Municipal Airport Authority, she assisted
in organizing fly-ins and air shows during her nineteen
year tenure. From 1980-1991, Jayne served as the
first woman on the board of directors of EAA and
was chairman of the activities center at the EAA
convention. Jayne has served as a member and officer
of the hall of fame for over ten years. Jayne has
addressed several state and national educators' workshops,
stressing the role of women in aviation. She is a
licensed pilot since 1956 and has several aircraft
including gliders and home-builts.
A lifelong resident of Illinois, Norm had his first interest in aviation
as a boy during WWII. He carried that interest through college when he
entered the Air Force Reserves through the ROTC program. In the Illinois
Air National Guard, he established a lifelong fondness for the C-47.
After leaving active duty, Norm worked for several Illinois corporations
and retired from State Farm Insurance. In 1981, he became active in the
restoration of military aircraft through a museum in Springfield. Using
this experience, he formed "Gooney Bird Chapter" in Bloomington
to preserve a DC-3. This effort was incorporated and eventually led to
the full restoration of a 1942 CD-3 that is now listed in the U.S. Department
of Interior's "National Register of Historic Places." This
effort led to what we now know as the Prairie Aviation Museum. The museum
has prospered emphasizing education to both young and old. Norm led another
effort to expand the scope of the museum in the late 90's to include
the Challenger Learning Center which emphasizes outreach to school age
patrons. He has numerous Air Force honors. He served as President of
the Hall of Fame and remains on the Selection Committee.