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
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
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.
ALBERT H. LUKE
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.