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2004 Soaring Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

Patricia Hange and Harriet Hamilton

Patricia Hange and Harriet Hamilton have devoted their lives to the sport of soaring and gliding. As partners in the operation of the Lenox Flight School, the country's thirteenth licensed commercial glider operation, they have provided the means for thousands of pilots to participate in the sport of soaring for over forty years.

After meeting at an airport in Ohio, Hange and Hamilton became partners in what would become one of the most successful commercial glider operations in the United States. In 1962, after traveling to the Schweizer factory in Elmira to purchase a new SGU 2-22, the Lenox Flight School opened for business. Drawn to better flying weather, the school was relocated to Florida two years later.

Managing a flight school for over four decades required Pat and Harriet to possess a number of diversified skills. Managing a glider operation is a difficult task even in the best of times. Pat and Harriet battled hurricanes and the vagaries of the aviation economy for over four decades and made Lenox Flight School an institution in the sport of soaring. After a lifetime of devotion to soaring and gliding, the commitment of these two women is best summed up by Hange when asked how she felt about all the years managing the glider operation, "I'd do it again in a heartbeat!"

Pat is a certificated Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic with Inspection Authorization and is recognized throughout the state of Florida for her skills in aircraft maintenance. Additionally, she was the first fully-qualified woman to receive the Federal Aviation Administration Charles Taylor Award in recognition of her fifty years of active service in aviation maintenance. As a Federal Aviation Administration Designated Pilot Examiner for gliders in Florida, Hange has logged over 9,000 flight hours.

On the opposite end of the towline, Harriet has logged 10,000 flight hours, over half of those as a flight instructor. Remarkably, she has conducted over 43,000 tows as pilot of the tow aircraft. For her, flying wasn't an option because someone had to tow while Pat taught students to fly gliders.

Bob Semans

Bob's long involvement with soaring has been one of both accomplishment and contribution. Bob joined the Southern California Soaring Association and served on the Southern California Competition Committee to improve contest and turn point validation procedures. He became a Director and later Vice President of the club, in addition to being Chairman of the SSA Elections and Allocation Committee.

After moving to Northern California and joining PASCO, Bob became a SSA Director for Region 11 and introduced the contest site rotation policy. Subsequently he served as Secretary and Vice President, which gave him a broader perspective.

From 1987 to 1997 - Bob served as Chairman of the SSA FAI Badge and Record Committee, devoting time each year to ensuring that all pilots were treated fairly. Bob edited and rewrote claim verification sections of the Sporting Code, and the establishment of a formal process for reviewing IGC proposed changes to the Sporting Code.

Bob enjoys regional and national contests, both as a competitor and a worker. He has won several regional contests and was CD, start gate crew, or photo interpreter at others. He served as CD for the first Nationals in Minden (1972) and for the first two Hitachi Masters of Soaring contests in which national and world champions competed in a single class - at Minden (1986) and at Estrella (1987). He served as Steward for the 1989 Worlds in Austria, as CD for Ameriglide in 1990, and as Chief Timekeeper for the 1991 Worlds in Uvalde. While in Austria, at the request of the IGC Vice President, Bob worked on clarification of international competition rules.

Always willing to share his time and expertise, Bob has helped others with task setting, and with the creation of 16 (well-developed) courses - both photo and GPS - known locally as the "Minden Standard Courses." Using his courses and guidance, local and visiting pilots have achieved many records and badges. Bob helps on claim documentation as well. Bob himself has set 42 state records and 6 national records. He won the SSA Distance Award in 1999 and 2000, and is a recent winner of the Barron Hilton Cup. He has been a lead pilot at cross-country and racing camps and a speaker at local, regional and national conventions and safety seminars. Recently he co-developed a safety procedure to reduce risk of collision over the increasingly busy White Mountains. Bob is a member and supporter of PASCO and Air Sailing and he is currently President of the Minden Soaring Club.

Posted: 2/2/2004 By: General News


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