2011 Inductees  


Bill Blake is currently the Great Lakes Regional Representative for the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association. Blake represents AOPA in Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin. He has been serving as a regional representative since 1999. In that role he has helped promote and protect general aviation in Illinois. Some of the issued he has pursued include successfully opposing proposed state legislation which would have required student pilots to have criminal background checks, successfully opposing proposed legislation placing a 7 % luxury tax on top of the already existing sales tax on general aviation aircraft and working to reduce budget cuts for the general aviation community and its airports.

Prior to his work for AOPA Blake was Director of the Illinois Division of Aeronautics from 1992 until 1999. During that time he served on the National Association of State Aviation Officials ( NASAO ) Board of Directors and as its Vice-Chairman at the time of his retirement.

While at the Division he developed a program with his staff called Aviation Wannabe, which was aimed at the 30 to 60 year old who had the discretionary income necessary to take up flying. He and his staff traveled the state holding evening seminars covering what general aviation meant to him and providing information and encouragement to others. He used a female flight instructor and video using a female pilot because he felt general aviation marketing had not given enough attention to the female pilot. The program received a national award as an innovative way to get adults interested in flying. Others have adopted the program and still use it today, including the Quad City Pilots Association.

Blake, being safety conscious, sent his pilots in the Division to Flight Safety International each year for training. He also participated in the annual Wings Weekend for many years, having completed over ten Wing phases. Bill also spent many hours trying to keep Meigs Field open.

Previously he was Chairman of the greater Peoria Airport Authority Board of Commissioners and Executive Director of the Illinois Aviation Trade Association. He was always promoting the idea that all general aviation factions needed to work together to maintain a viable system. When speaking to pilot groups he stressed the importance of supporting their FBOs. Speaking to airport managers and their boards, he stressed the idea that FBOs, pilots and their aircraft owners were their customers (not just the airlines) and they had a duty to treat them as such.

Blake has been flying for over 50 years and recently received the FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for 50 years of safe accident free flying, holds a Commercial Pilot Certificate with instrument, multi-engine and helicopter rating. He has 6000 hours and is type rated in Lear Jets and SK-58 helicopters. He was an army aviator assigned to the East-West German border in the early 1960s and retained flying status with the army through1974 and holds the Senior Army Aviator Badge. While attending law school he was a contracting officer for the Naval Research in Washington. Also served as a reserve officer with the 5035th USARF School in the 1980 and retired with the rank of Colonel. After retirement from the Division of Aeronautics he returned to his law practice in Peoria in addition to his work with AOPA.

Blake has served on a number of community boards including the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Council and past president of the Illinois Alumni Association. He was an original advisory board member of LifeLine Pilots and past president of the former Illinois Aviation Forum. Blake is a graduate of University of Illinois College of Commerce, the Georgetown University Law center in Washington and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Bill’s wife Nancy is an instrument rated private pilot and they have two married children and six grandchildren.


Citizenship: United States
Marital Status: Married

University of Illinois, B.S. in Civil
Engineering (High Honors)
Western Illinois University
Aurora University
Illinois Benedictine College

Bob Rieser is Manager and Director of Aviation of the Aurora Municipal Airport. He has held this position for thirty three years and served five mayors. Under his leadership Aurora Airport has grown to many times its size and has become a major part of the economic base of Aurora and surrounding communities. There are twenty seven businesses and over four hundred people that make their living at Aurora Airport.

Bob’s skills, love and devotion to general aviation has opened many doors of opportunity to the aviation community for those who want to be a part of it. Here are a few achievements that should be brought to your attention.

  • Served twice as Chairman of Illinois Public Airport’s Association.
  • Was an instructor at Airport Commissioners School.
  • Has in the past and continues to share his knowledge and experience with airport managers and Directors throughout the state of Illinois.
  • Named an Illinois Aviation Ambassador by former Governor Jim Thompson for his outreach to the general public in educating the masses of the importance of airports throughout the state.
  • Bob Rieser found Air Classic Aviation Museum a home after they lost their base operation at DuPage Airport.
  • Made possible and supported EAA Chapter 579 in flying over fourteen thousand young people in their Young Eagles program at the Aurora Airport.
  • Running an airport is very much like managing a city, depending on the seasons you see to it that the snow is removed and the grass is mowed. He is a hard worker.
  • His involvement with the local EAA Chapter for their breakfasts and air shows, Chapter One of the IAC for the aerobatic competitions and the Freedom Flight of America, to name a few, kept him busy as a volunteer, after hours as well.

  • Accredited Airport Executive
  • Serves on the Board of Examiners to give Oral Component of the exam to candidates.
  • Licensed Illinois Professional Engineer
  • Instrument rated pilot
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors – Illinois Public Airports Association
  • Served twice as Chairman….1999 – 2000 and 2004 – 2005
  • Tau Beta Pi Honorary Fraternity
  • Chi Epsilon Honorary Fraternity
  • American Public Works Association
  • American Society of Civil Engineers
  • Illinois Society of Professional Engineers
  • Illinois Aviation Forum – Served on Board of Directors until Hall of Fame took over
  • 1991 FAA Airport safety Enhancement Award.
  • President, City of Aurora - Board of Local Improvements.
  • Board of Directors – ARR Events.
  • Produced air shows, Fly-ins and other events for the public at no charge and Freedom
  • Flight America ’95.
  • Held annual WW II Hangar Dance to build community support.
  • President of the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame 2004 – 2005.
  • Board of Directors of the Fox Fest 1994 – 1995.
  • Developed College Accredited Flight Training program for the Waubonsee Community College.
  • Hosted the IAC Chapter One Aerobatic Competition for 10 years – Heuer Classic.
  • Hosted the North American Trainer Assoc.
  • (NATA) formation training seminars.
  • Hosted Modelaires – line control model airplane competition for 8 years.
  • Air Classic Museum – Aurora accepted the museum when they were told to leave DPA.
  • Museum would have dissolved if Aurora had not accepted them. Gave them a 20 year lease.
  • Department of Defense “E” Award given to Aurora Airport for involvement in the remembrance of the end of World War II.
  • Published articles on aviation safety in Aviation magazines.
  • Longest standing airport manager for a public airport in Illinois – since 1978.
  • Consults with other airports to advise them on operational matters.
  • Host of the Kitty Hawk to Oshkosh Pylon Race.
  • Host for USAF Reservists after leaving ORD – Since 1996 Aurora has allowed use of the airport to transport local USAF Reservists to training facilities in two different states.
  • Allowed USAF Reserves to locate to Aurora after Glenview NAS closed until new facilities were prepared at Fort McCoy.
  • Prepared Case Study for development and management of T Hangars.
  • Developed a presentation about the dangers of “Bird Strikes” for communities building close to airports.


Harrel started flying in 1965 and holds commercial, flight and ground instructor ratings plus an ATP certificate (single and Multi-engine land ) with 14,000 hours flying time. Timmons is an FAA designated pilot examiner for private, commercial, instrument, multi- engine, ATP and Citation jet and a certified aircraft mechanic with inspection authorization. He has helped many employees to go on to the airlines, corporate pilot and corporate mechanic careers. A member of the National Stearman Board of Directors since 1971 which holds its annual fly- in in Galesburg each year. President of the FBO at Galesburg from 1969 to the present- now known as "Jet Air, Inc." Jet Air is a franchised Cessna dealer, which because of Timmons experience in airframe and power-plant repairs has resulted in nationwide cliental.

Harrel continues to play a significant role in the operation and success of the National Stearman Fly-in at Galesburg. He has served as a board member of both the National Stearman Fly-in NFP & the Stearman foundation for many years and the efforts that he presents to the Fly-in through the donation of his physical facilities at his FBO, Jet Air Inc., is of major importance into the continued success of the Stearman Fly-in. Without the use of his facilities at no charge and his continuing efforts throughout the remainder of the year, the success of the National Stearman Fly-in could not be possible.

Harrel has been a member of the Galesburg Rotary Club for more than 30 years. He and his wife Judith are involved in the Rotary Youth Exchange, bringing Exchange students here from all over the world. They host team members and volunteer air transportation for team members for sight seeing and to get to other locations by air. Harrel has provided many business entrepreneurs from over seas, a place to live in Galesburg and hosts groups for both study and recreation.

Harrel became a Big Brother for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Knox County in 2004. A Big Brother serves as an adult companion, positive role model, listener, instructor and guide for his “Little Brother.”

Harrel was a sponsor for Marion Jayne (1926-1996) in cross country air race competitions. As a result of Harrel’s sponsorship she won multiple national air races.

At the 2003 Kitty Hawk Centennial celebration for the first 100 years of flight, 100 Aviation hero’s were named and Marion Jayne was one of them. Marion still holds the world record for the most cross country speed air race victories, is the only US pilot to have raced twice around the world, holds the FAI Gold Medal for the longest race in history, 24 days around the world. Marion Jayne and her accomplishments is just one of Harrel’s achievements. He believed in and invested in helping Marion Jayne achieve these amazing successes.

Mr. Timmons was nominated in 1996 and 2004.


Lung Mr. Lung ( Nick ) has the following ratings: CFII, CFII Multi Engine, Commercial Glider, Sea Plane, ASEL, ASMEL, British Private Pilot, Flight Engineer (Reciprocating and Jet). Type ratings: DC-3, DC-6, DC-7, Boeing 727, DC10.

Nick started the Ogle County Pilots Assoc. in 1975 and was the first president. He served for many years as Secretary and is presently on the Board of Directors. Also started the Ogle County Airport (C-55) in 1978. The airport was chosen the "2007 Airport of the Year" award in Illinois. Founding member of the Rock River Flyers, which is still operating. He started the Ogle County Sheriff's Department in 1984 and was their primary pilot ( on a volunteer basis), ending in 2005 when the Sheriff's Dept. had to sell their airplane because of the outrageous cost of liability insurance. Nick has operated his own RLA airport on his farm near Leaf River, Illinois. since 1975. He was one of the founders of the Illinois Council of Independent Airports and the Illinois Ultralight Advisor Council.

He is retired from United Airlines with over 26,000 hours of flight time.

Other Aviation Activities:
  • Member of EAA Chapters 22 and 23 located at Cottonwood and Rockford.
  • Member of Ogle County Airport, Mt. Morris. Newsletter editor for Chapter 22 since 1996. Volunteer at AirVenture, Oshkosh over 20 years.
  • Served as chief judge of Ultralights and light planes for 12 years.
  • Newsletter editor for Ogle County Pilots from 1976 to 1990. Very active in all chapter programs, Nick got his CFI rating in 1969 and has been an active flight instructor ever since.
  • Received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot award June 6, 2006.
  • Frank Murray Award from EAA 22 in 2005 for volunteer work within the chapter.
  • Is in charge of EAA aircraft raffle at the convention which he helped start in Rockford.
  • In 1953 he was a USAF pilot in Korea flying F-86's.
  • Completed 12 solo crossings of the Atlantic in single engine jets and is a charter member of F-86 Sabre Pilots Association.
  • Member of the Airborne Law Enforcement Assoc. from 1996 until 2005.
Most of his aviation activities other than the airlines has been on a volunteer basis. Mr. Lung was nominated in 2008 and 2009.

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