FAIRBANKS — Noel Wien was always in exclusive company as one of the pioneer pilots of Alaska, an adventurer who “slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings.”
On July 17, the founder of one of the most important airlines in Alaska history will be enshrined into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio, joining the most elite aviators in the history of the United States.
Pilots Richard and Merrill Wien plan to accept the award on behalf of their father, who died in 1977 after a career in which he helped transform air transportation into a routine part of life in Alaska.
In 1924, Noel Wien made the first flight from Anchorage to Fairbanks. He went on to many other achievements, the greatest of which was establishing an airline that made life easier for hundreds of thousands of people throughout the decades.
A crowd of about 1,000 is expected at the dinner in Dayton, where the Wiens will be introduced by retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Bill Anders. A member of the hall of fame since 2004, Anders was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 8 and later served as the CEO of General Dynamics.
While orbiting the moon on Dec. 24, 1968, Anders took the photo of “Earthrise,” one of the most famous and influential images in the history of photography.
Other aviation figures to be enshrined in the hall of fame this year along with Wien are: Alan Bean, the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12; Warren Grimes, who invented aircraft navigation equipment and lights; and Clay Lacy, a business aviation leader and aerial cinematographer on such films as “Top Gun” and “The Right Stuff.”
Only about 200 names are included in the hall of fame, ranging from Wilbur and Orville Wright to Charles Lindbergh and Neil Armstrong. Exhibits and displays honoring the pioneers of aviation are inside the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
CITY EXPANDS: The city is spreading its wings today across 31 acres more than it covered Wednesday.
The annexation of the Fred Meyer West property and several other lots took effect this morning.
City police and fire services are extended to the property on the west side, as well as to lots along Park and Riverside Drive, near the Boatel. The city plans to resurface Riverside Drive next year and start to maintain it this year.
The Fred Meyer area, which includes four property owners, totals 20.5 acres, while the other spot off Airport Way and the Chena River is about 10.5 acres.
Garbage collection for the dozen or so residential properties takes place on Wednesdays, with garbage bills going out quarterly.
VIGIL: An all-night vigil honoring Our Lady of Fatima is to take place Friday at the Holy Family Chapel in the Catholic school, starting at 7 p.m., with mass at 7:30 p.m. For more details, call 388-1825.
POWWOW: The 10th annual Midnight Sun Inter-tribal Powwow is set for July 9-11 at the field behind the Carlson Center.
The Silvercloud Singers from New York City will be the guest drum group. Soaring Eagle Drum from Fairbanks will be the host drum group. The entry times are 6 p.m. Friday and noon on Saturday and Sunday.
Admission is $5 on Friday and $10 on both Saturday and Sunday. As in years past, an eagle will be released on the final day of the powwow at 2 p.m. The bird treatment center in Anchorage is supplying the eagle.
Dermot Cole can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 459-7530.