Criteria for the Spirit of Flight Award

  • Awarded annually to an organization that has made a substantial contribution to aviation in Illinois.

  • The organization's activities must be Illinois based and continuous over a long period of time.

  • The organization's member activities must be above and beyond that of normal paid employment and exhibit a high degree of excellence in their accomplishment.

Significance of the Spirit of Flight Award

Election to the Illinois Aviation Hall Of Fame is the highest honor that can be attained by people whose principal aviation activity and experience is Illinois based. It is awarded to people of good character for their excellence over a period of time. All of those selected have participated in community service, which reflects the character that earns IAHOF honors.

2009 Recipient:

The Stick and Rudder Flying Club was founded in 1948 at the Waukegan Airport. Since inception the club has produced hundreds (if not thousands) of pilots. Many have gone on to fly commercially or joined the military.  It is the oldest flying club in Illinois and is one of the largest flying clubs in America.

The club has had an exemplary safety record. The club provides primary and advanced training, maintains a small fleet of Cessna aircraft and has a members clubhouse and hangar. Monthly meetings provide educational benefits to  members and guests on a wide range of aviation topics.

Stick and Rudder and its members have been deeply involved in the EAA Young Eagles program, Angel Flights, and volunteer efforts at the EAA Airventure and the Civil Air Patrol and numerous other education programs.  They also host local 99's meetings, EAA Chapter 414  Young Eagle rallies and the annual Waukegan Airport Open House. It would be easy to dismiss Stick and Rudder as merely a flying club. For over 60 years they have contributed to the Illinois aviation community by providing a safe structured training environment for primary and advanced flight training.  Its vibrant social environment fosters an atmosphere of learning and growth for its members, as well as the aviation community at large. Its original membership was only 43 members in 1948.  It had grown to nearly 500 active members in the 80's, but now has about 160 members.  The club has seven aircraft which are used for training or members use. They also have 11 full and part time flight instructors and maintain a small fleet of Cessna's using its own staff. Most importantly, the club has operated in a safe and efficient manner since 1948.