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.

2013 Recipient:
Coast Guard Auxiliary Aviation – Flotilla 39-8 (Chicago Air Flotilla)

The Coast Guard Auxiliary Aviation (AUXAIR) Program was established by the Commandant of the Coast Guard to “assist the Coast Guard in any mission(s) or operations(s) authorized by Law and authorized by the Commandant.” Their mission is:

To facilitate the use of Auxiliary Aircraft in support of Recreational Boating Safety (RBS); Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA); and Search & Rescue (SAR).

To ensure Auxiliary Air Safety and to set policy for the use of Special Air Transport in support of USCG activities.

Division 39 of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, Ninth Western District has 200 member volunteers active in 5 flotillas (units), which proudly serve the North shore part of Chicago. Division 39 Auxiliarists volunteer nearly 3,000 hours while conducting boating education classes, safety patrols, homeland security activities, radio watch standing, vessel safety checks, marine dealer visits, search and rescue, public relations, administration, environmental protection and much more. During the 2010 boating season, the five Division 39 flotillas performed 1,022 Vessel Safety Checks; conducted nearly 100 hours of Boating Safety Education; and engaged in 275 hours of Safety and Regatta Patrols

The Air Operations Flotilla 39-8 (sometimes referred to as “AIRDALES”) is unique because they are the only Auxiliary group that can wear and display the American Flag on their flight outerwear. Once Airborne on a mission, they are considered a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) aircraft and are considered under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security. All call signs are referenced as USCG AUX AIR.

The Flotilla has not only received awards for operational mission tasks, but also in other areas such as Public Education and Affairs, Marine Safety, and Program Visitor Vessel Teams. To promote the Auxiliary Operations and Public Safety, members Conduct Boat Safety Classes.

Members conduct Public Affairs events to promote Auxiliary Operations and Public Education. Events supported this year include, an EAA Pancake breakfast, U. S. Coast Guard Station Wilmette Open House, Cavalcade of Planes Event in Bolingbrook, EAA AIRVENTURE, the Chicago Air and Water Show, the Waukegan Air Show, and multiple air safety seminars.