President, Hawthorne School of Aeronautics
The aviation world was shocked beyond words in October 1971 when the news flashed around the world of the fatal crash of Beverly E. Howard. Known simply as "Bevo" by literally millions of admirers, he was without equal as a precision flyer. He was a pilot's pilot with more than 1500 flawless exhibitions before 30 million awestruck spectators. Bevo was truly a champion, winning three national and three international aerobatic championship events. Further, his innumerable contributions to aviation are awesome. He flew hundreds of exhibitions for charitable causes.
Bevo was born in Bath, South Carolina in 1914. He grew up in Augusta, Georgia where he learned to fly at the age of 16. Always the entrepreneur, he financed flight lessons by making parachute jumps and selling tickets for airplane rides. He purchased his first airplane; a 1927 OX-5 powered WACO 10. He left college in 1932 and joined Hawthorne Aviation, a newly established aviation company in Charleston, South Carolina. By 1936 he was owner and president of company that subsequently expanded into a flight training operation. He was hired as a copilot for Eastern Airlines at the age of 21, the youngest airline pilot in the United States. Prior to World War II Hawthorne Aviation provided instruction for the College of Charleston, The Citadel, the University of South Carolina and the general public.
In 1941 Bevo won an Army Air Corps contract for Hawthorne to establish a primary flight school at Orangeburg, South Carolina. Throughout the war, Hawthorne trained more than 7,000 allied combat pilots of which more than one third were French. For service to France and in recognition of aerobatic skills, Howard received 3 high honors: The French Air Wings, The Aeronautical Medal, and the National Order of the Legion of Honor. Following World War II, "Bevo" established Flight Training programs for the Pakistani Air Force in Jacksonville, Florida.
In 1951 he won a contract for Hawthorne to train pilots at Spence Air Base in Moultrie, Georgia. During Hawthorne operation of Spence, over 6400 pilots from 32 countries were trained from 1951 to 1961. All told, under Bevo's leadership, Hawthorne trained over 35,000 military and civilian pilots.
Bevo was an avid supporter of organizations designed to serve aviation interests throughout the world.
Bevo helped shape and guide the Aeronautical Training Society (ATS) now identified as the National Aerospace Service;
He served as consultant for two years for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, predecessor of NASA;
He was a charter member of the old Air Power league;
He was a founding organizer of the Aerobatic Club of America;
He served as USA representative for the International Federation of Aeronautics; and he served as Captain of the International Aerobatic Team.
When Bevo was 19 years old, he flew his first air show exhibition in a Waco F at Walterboro, S.C. He went on to fly in virtually every major air meet in the U.S. and abroad including the old Miami American Air Maneuvers, the Original Olympics of the Air and the Cleveland National Air Races. While Bevo considered air shows entertainment, he drew a sharp line between precision aerobatics and stunt flying. Accordingly, he proposed an Industry Advisory Board to assist ACC in developing uniform guidelines for the issuance of air meet waivers.
Bevo was a perfectionist. He was a strict disciplinarian, a staunch defender of free enterprise, and a man of integrity, humility and deep Christian principles.
In a eulogy delivered before the U.S. Senate, Strom Thurmond stated that there would never be another man like Bevo Howard. How true!
Bevo's concept of management extended far beyond the accumulation of money. His primary interest being the development of the whole person.
Neither Bevo nor his beloved Buecker will ever fly again, but in thousands of cockpits throughout the world, pilots perpetuate his techniques and ideals because he was not only a magnificent pilot but a tireless teacher as well.
General Mark Clark, speaking of Bevo, said "He contributed his talents, his ideals and his knowledge, not only to his personal friends and associates, but to the country he loved by training thousands of pilots in America's time of need" .
Source: Presentation at Beverly “Bevo” Howard’s enshrinement in the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame - May 18, 1996. Authored and presented by Bert M. Harsh, former Vice President and General Manager of Hawthorne School of Aeronautics.
Related Internet Links
ICAS Bio - Beverly “Bevo” Howard
Beverly Howard Jr's Aviation Page
(More information on Bevo and his Jungmeister)