2007 Inductees  

William R. Norwood
Following six years as a B-52 pilot in the United States Air Force, William Norwood spent an exemplary 31 years with United Airlines . He began his career with United Airlines as their first African American pilot and ended it as a Captain on the DC-10.

Mr. Norwood has been featured in two museum exhibits: "Take Flight" at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry and "Black Wings" at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Norwood, a life member of the SIU Alumni Association, was appointed by three Illinois governors and served 27 years as a member of the Southern Illinois University (SIU) Board of Trustees, which oversees the activities of SIU Carbondale, SIU Edwardsville and the SIU Medical, Dental, and Law Schools. Bill Norwood volunteered for many years with Southern Illinois Wings of Charity. The program introduces young people to aviation and in his words "teaches them they can go into an area that is foreign and that they can conquer those challenges. They can take those lessons to other parts of their lives". He has also participated in many community services and volunteer activities including the Gary Flight Academy, focusing on getting youth involved in aviation.

Mr. Norwood is a founding member of the Organization of Black Airline Pilots. He was instrumental in getting the "United Airlines-Southern Illinois University Aviation Career Day" implemented and has participated in each career day event from 1994 through 2001. Bill and his wife Molly are sponsors of the William R. Norwood Scholarship at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Janice "Jan" Draper is a lifelong resident of Illinois and has spent years working as a volunteer after developing the Air Bear Program. The program, aimed at kindergarten through third grade students, exposed the students to aviation via an imaginary trip to Disney World.

Young students are assigned to various positions such as aircraft maintenance technicians, aircraft service technicians, flight attendants, pilots, ticket agents and passengers. This trip captures the imagination and interests the student in available aviation careers. While this seems to be an early age for career choices, it tells the children of all the entities that contribute to a safe flight. Their enthusiasm for aviation is sparked and they take this back to their parents.

Developed in 1984, the program was presented in the Springfield area with Mrs. Draper as the sole Air Bear, all done on her own time. In 1987 the Ninety Nines, the International Organization of Women Pilots spread the program throughout the United States and since then, thousands of children in hundreds of classrooms have had the experience of "flying to Disney World." In the Chicago area alone, over a hundred "flights" have been conducted through the years, winning accolades from parents and teachers. She has also worked with teachers, volunteers, children and the general public on aviation education.

Jan Draper has been honored for her imagination and dedication in developing the program. She was presented with the 1988 National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO)Most Innovative Award for Project Air Bear and the 1994 NASAO's State Aviation Most Distinguished Service Award. Jan was presented the Federal Aviation Administration's Regional Award in 1998 and the Secretary of Transportation Award in 1992.

Jan was employed with the IDOT, Division of Aeronautics, from 1970 to 2004 in various capacities. Her volunteer efforts have spanned the entire United States as well as her own neighborhood. Jan's enthusiasm for aviation education and her community involvement with Springfield's Air Rendezvous Kids Tent program, the Young Pilots program and the Night Time Teacher Workshops have endeared her to everyone she meets.

In the early thirties, Al Luke was a barnstormer in the Chicago and Joliet area. In 1934 he began working as a flight instructor for the Lewis Holy Name School of Aeronautics near Lockport, Illinois. In 1942 he became Superintendent for Lewis School of Aeronautics. That year, they were contracted by the Navy to train WWII pilots, which later resulted in the training of 1200 pilots by May of 1944. In 1946, Lewis School offered flight instruction in the first commercial helicopter, the Bell Model 47. After training at Bell Aircraft in Buffalo, NY, on February 28, 1947 Luke brought back the school's first helicopter, the Bell Model 47 B (NC-102B). Al Luke became the first commercial helicopter instructor pilot in Illinois and the Midwest and Lewis became the first academic school to offer helicopter training in Illinois and the nation. Luke trained students and issued the first three certificates for commercial helicopter pilots from Lewis. One of his students, Mr. Ham Reidy, later became founder of Chicago Helicopter Airways. Luke later resigned his post and became Administrative Aeronautical Adviser which included retaining the previous role of airport manager of Lewis- Lockport Airport and the newly created post of Director of Helicopter Operations. As Luke continued to instruct, he served as Chief Pilot and as a Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) Commercial Pilot Examiner. In 1956, he was elected to a term as President of the Mid-Western Helicopter Association. Eventually, Luke became airport manager following the discontinuation of helicopter operations at the college in 1967. He retired from Lewis College on January 1, 1971 after a career in aviation of thirty eight years of which thirty four of those years were with Lewis College (now Lewis University). Al devoted many hours of service with the helicopter supporting fund raising activities for the college, as well as serving the community and charitable organizations. In addition to flight training, his other activities included power line and pipe line patrol, geological and topographical surveys, agricultural work, mosquito abatement, local government and business publicity events, flying executives and celebrities, building/plant maintenance and construction, photography and police work. He assisted law enforcement officers in finding missing persons and helping others in times of need. Luke logged 7916 hours of which 3466 hours were in helicopters. Luke passed away May 1978 in Moutainburg, AR.

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