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.

2015 Recipients:
Blackhawk Area Council, Boy Scouts of America & Illinois Aviation Museum at Bolingbrook

Blackhawk Area Council, Boy Scouts of America

The Blackhawk Area Council, Boy Scouts of America is made up of many local Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, Venturing Crews, Varsity Teams and Explorer Posts. The Blackhawk Area Council sponsors AirCamp at Chicago/Rockford International Airport, a weekend event that allows several thousand scouts of all ages to camp and combine aviation themes and events with traditional scouting activities. Overnight camping is allowed for Boy Scout Troops and Venturing Crews. On Saturday, the full day program is open to all scouts and their families.

AirCamp visitors enjoyed displays of famous aircraft, including a MiG-21 Jet fighter, DC-3 passenger plane, a Blanik L-33 glider. In another area, light planes were taking off and landing with Boy Scouts as passengers, courtesy of the local EAA Chapter. In other areas, Boy Scouts and Venturers played a challenging teamwork game called Select Civilian Operated urgent tactics Simulator (SCOUTS). Others worked on completing a variety of merit badges.

Inspirational scout speakers are hosted at AirCamp. In 2005, former astronaut Navy Captain James A. Lovell and Air Force Major General John Borling were featured guests. In 2014, the Tuskegee Airmen were honored guests. The scouts had an opportunity to talk to the Tuskegee Airmen and share stories.

AirCamp has been held at Rockford in 2005, 2010 and 2014. We salute Blackhawk Area Council for its efforts with AirCamp.

Illinois Aviation Museum at Bolingbrook

The Illinois Aviation Museum at Bolingbrook is a consortium of individuals and groups dedicated to advancing aviation and engineering. Their current operation is housed in Hangar One, a 6000 square foot facility at Bolingbrook’s Clow International Airport.

The Museum hosts EAA Chapter 461’s Young Eagles program. Young Eagles rides are offered on the second Saturday each month from April through October, with an average of 50 rides per event. While families wait for their turn, they can enjoy the museum. Younger children can ride in “Ground Bound”, the Curtis Jenny replica built by the museum for them.

Led by Restoration Director Larry Greenwich, Museum volunteers have put hundreds of hours into aircraft restorations. The first project was a T-2 Naval training jet. The second project was an Air Force T-33 trainer jet. It was completed in 2007. The current project is A4 Naval jet.

The restoration group also built a replica of A WW1 Fokker with students from the high school. Many of the students now have engineering degrees and some went on to become pilots. Another project with high school is in the planning stage.

The Illinois Aviation Museum participates is many parades and other events, promoting interest in aviation and support for Bolingbrook’s Clow Airport. We salute the Museum for its efforts.