Meridian Honors New Jersey Aviators into Hall of Fame

The Meridian table at the NJ Aviation Hall of Fame Induction Dinner. (Standing left to right): Chris Battaglia, Anthony Banome, Emil Iannone, Kirk Stephen, and Mike Moore. (Seated left to right): John Langschultz, Ken Forester Sr., Ken Forester Jr., Susan Forester, and Dennis O'Connell.

The Meridian table at the NJ Aviation Hall of Fame Induction Dinner. (Standing left to right): Chris Battaglia, Anthony Banome, Emil Iannone, Kirk Stephen, and Mike Moore. (Seated left to right): John Langschultz, Ken Forester Sr., Ken Forester Jr., Susan Forester, and Dennis O’Connell.

Wood-Ridge, NJ – On Tuesday, September 29, 2015, the Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum of New Jersey held its 43rd Annual Hall of Fame Induction Dinner at the Fiesta Ballroom in Wood-Ridge, NJ. This tribute dinner honors local aviation pioneers and financially supports the hall of fame and museum, located on Fred Wehran Drive in Teterboro, NJ. It is one of the museum’s biggest fund raising events of the year.

Founded in 1972, the Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum of New Jersey is dedicated to the preservation of the Garden State’s distinguished, two-century aviation and space heritage. Men and women whose outstanding aeronautical achievements have brought worldwide recognition to the state are enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Meridian is a proud supporter of the museum, and representatives of the company enjoy attending the induction dinner every year. Ken Forester, Sr., who founded Meridian with Bob Hewitt back in 1946, was himself inducted into the hall of fame in 2008. He was among those who attended on Tuesday evening.

This event recognized three individuals who are connected to New Jersey and who have each uniquely contributed to the advancement of human flight.

The 2015 NJ Hall of Fame Inductees were:

Capt. Janis K. Blackburn (Born 1948)

A longtime resident of Belmar, Blackburn began her flying career as a flight instructor and charter pilot. Her true goal was to work for the scheduled carriers. The time was the late 1960s and the major airlines were, by and large, not accepting applications from women for cockpit positions. Blackburn persisted in spite of repeated rejections and was finally hired by Princeton Airlines, a small NJ carrier. This was the beginning of a long and successful career with Summit Airlines, Sun Country, Eastern, Kiwi, and Spirit (from which she retired in 2013.) At virtually every carrier Blackburn was the first female in her position including becoming the first women to crew the A-300 in America and the first female captain at Kiwi. After flying her last trip with Spirit she began working as a consultant with the FAA Technical Center in Atlantic City, a position she holds today.

Throughout this period Blackburn served the aviation community in a myriad of other ways. Among the organizations that she contributed to, usually in leadership roles were the Ninety-Nines women’s flight organization, the Civil Air Patrol, the New Jersey Aviation Education Council, the Mooney Aircraft Pilots Association, the Air Line Pilots Association and the FAA Safety Counselor Program. She even travelled to Africa to participate in missions work in Kenya. Always interested in youth aviation education, Blackburn recently became an author with the publishing of her first children’s book, Teddy, The Airplane.

Still an active flight instructor with the Monmouth Area Flying Club Blackburn has logged over 22,000 piloting hours during her lifetime.

Henry M. Holden (Born 1939)

Making his home in Randolph, Holden is a prolific aviation historian and author. In 1994, Mr. Holden was honored in the United States Congressional Record for his work in recording the history of American women in aviation. He was the recipient of the Author’s Award from the New Jersey Institute of Technology for his book Her Mentor Was An Albatross – The Autobiography of Pioneer Pilot Harriet Quimby. In 1996 Holden launched the Women in Aviation Resource Center, an online repository of educational, historical, and networking resources for women interested in all aspects of aviation. In 2010 He was given the Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum of NJ’s Distinguished Service Award.

Holden is the author of over 1,000 magazine and newspaper articles appearing in national publications. Holden has also published 43 books, and is the founder of the DC-3/Dakota Association. His two volume history of the DC-3 is considered to be the definitive work on this legendary aircraft. Holden is a member of Women in Aviation International, AOPA, and EAA. He speaks at aviation events cross the country as a guest lecturer. His work has been the subject of a number of radio and television programs including one on the History Channel. Henry is a former News Editor East for Airport Journals and had been a monthly contributor.

A selection of aviation magazines that he has written for, includes: Private Pilot, Plane & Pilot, Airport Journals, Skylight, World Airnews, InFlight-USA, American Aviation Historical Society Journal, Women in Aviation, Woman Pilot, Airport Press, Aviation History, Vintage Airplane, Warbirds, and Sport Aviation Magazine.

General James E. Young (Born 1920)

Raised in Passaic and Nutley; Young joined the U.S. Army Air Force in January 1942, about a month after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Upon earning his wings he was initially assigned to flying B-24s and B-25s on 43 anti-submarine patrols off the East Coast. In January 1944 Young was re-assigned to Italy where he flew both B-24s and B-17s on combat missions that included four raids on the Ploesti Oil Fields. In June of that year Young was transferred to England where he went on to complete 34 more missions on B-17s, some of which involved supporting the D-Day invasion. During this time he was awarded both the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters.

Upon release from active service at war’s end Young joined the NJ Air National Guard. He was recalled to active duty during both the Korean War and the Berlin Crisis in 1961-62. After returning to New Jersey he was promoted, in 1967, to Commander of the ANG 170th Military Airlift Group at McGuire AFB. He remained its Commander in 1977 when it became the 170th Air Refueling Group after transitioning from transport aircraft to KC-135 Jet Strato-Tankers. In 1979 Young was promoted to Brigadier General and became Assistant Adjutant General for Air, NJ Department of Defense. He retired from this position in 1980 after 39 years of service and 11,000 flying hours on 15 aircraft types.

During Young’s Air Force and Air National Guard career he was awarded a total of 18 medals and commendations.

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Meridian Supports Aeronautics School through PAMA Golf Tournament

Team Meridian at the Teterboro PAMA Annual Golf Outing (l to r): Per Karlsson, John Langschultz, Joe Langschultz, and Brian Fee.

Team Meridian at the Teterboro PAMA Annual Golf Outing (l to r): Per Karlsson, John Langschultz, Joe Langschultz, and Brian Fee.

On Wednesday, September 23, Meridian Jet Center was proud to support the 2015 Ed Furst Sr. Memorial Teterboro PAMA Annual Golf Outing, which was held at the beautiful Crystal Springs Golf Club in Hamburg, NJ. Meridian sponsored the trophies and the putting contest, in addition to sending a foursome of golfers to represent the company. The event included a 4-person scramble, box lunch and an awards reception following the tournament.

The golf outing traditionally follows the first Teterboro PAMA meeting of the season, which was held the previous evening at Graycliff Restaurant in Moonachie, NJ. The Meridian team was composed of John Langschultz (VP of Maintenance), Per Karlsson, (Director of Maintenance), Joe Langschultz (Parts Manager), and Brian Fee. While the foursome did not win the tournament, they did win the award for ‘Most Honest Team’, finishing the round with a robust score of 84. The winning team was Dassault Falcon Jet (Wilmington), with a final score of 62.

The annual golf outing hosted by the Teterboro Chapter of the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association provides educational opportunities to students attending the Teterboro School of Aeronautics in conjunction with FlightSafety. According to chapter President Ed Furst Jr., “The PAMA chapter has had a long-standing relationship with the school. Every student benefits from the latest donation by PAMA and FlightSafety. The chapter is leasing FlightSafety’s popular Principles of Troubleshooting training program for the school for a three-year period. Each year we would donate scholarship funds to one or two students – but our board members were looking for something that would benefit the whole student body.”

John Langschultz says, “We are proud to participate in this event because it positively impacts all of the students. Since these young men and women are the future of our industry, we all benefit in the long run. It’s really a great cause.”

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Meridian Exhibits at NBAA Regional Forum in St. Louis

The Meridian team works the booth at the NBAA Regional Forum in St. Louis.  (l to r): Mike Moore, Nora Jacob, and Anthony Banome

The Meridian team works the booth at the NBAA Regional Forum in St. Louis.
(l to r): Mike Moore, Nora Jacob, and Anthony Banome

Meridian, the award-winning private aviation company based at Teterboro Airport, proudly participated in the final National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Regional Forum of 2015. The show was held at St. Louis Downtown Airport (CPS) in St. Louis, MO. The one-day event was held on Thursday, September 17, and drew more than 1,200 attendees. The forum, held for the first time at that venue, hosted 130 exhibitors and 25 aircraft on static display, and closed out a year that also featured the popular local events in West Palm Beach, FL, and Teterboro, NJ. Meridian sent three representatives, including Mike Moore, VP of Aviation Sales, Anthony Banome, Director of Fuel Sales, and Nora Jacob, Customer Service Representative.

When the opening session concluded, and the forum got underway, exhibitors and attendees alike appreciated the forum’s value as a focused, one-day event. Leaders with local agencies and airport businesses illustrated the importance of the St. Louis-area event in highlighting the value of business aviation, and in supporting people and companies in the industry located in the area.

Peter Sadlo, president of the Greater St. Louis Business Aviation Association, said it is important to make sure young people can experience first-hand the possibilities that exist in the business aviation industry, and NBAA’s Regional Forums provide a great venue for that. “If we don’t get the next generation in at some point, it doesn’t work,” he said. “We need to share our network and get them involved.”

As with all NBAA events, elements of the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign were on display throughout the forum, with signage highlighting CEOs with well-known companies from across the country, each providing testimonials to the value of business aviation to their organizations. The No Plane No Gain program, jointly sponsored by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, educates policymakers and opinion leaders about the essential role of business aviation in the nation’s economy and transportation system.

NBAA’s St. Louis Regional Forum also included several education sessions, held throughout the day. Michelle Wade, of Jackson & Wade, discussed building successful aircraft and operating structures, while Mark Francetic, from Duncan Aviation, talked about how to prepare for NextGen and future equipment mandates, such as those for aircraft Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) systems. The forum closed with a talk by Travis Kuhn, from Aviation Research Group-US, who’s presentation focused on helping attendees make sense of the myriad business aviation flight activity and forecast data that is increasingly available to operators.

NBAA will continue its Regional Forums in 2016, with venues to be announced in the near future. NBAA will be hosting its annual Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA2015) in Las Vegas, NV, from November 17-19, 2015. Meridian will be exhibiting at the show in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center at booth #N4925.

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