By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
Aviation's elder generation lost several luminaries recently -- Albert Lee Ueltschi, the founder of FlightSafety International; Monte Mitchell, a former president of the Aircraft Electronics Association; and George McGovern, best known for his political career, who flew a B-24 bomber during World War II. Ueltschi, who died on Oct. 18 at age 95, learned to fly at age 16. He flew the line for Pan Am, then started FlightSafety in 1951. He sold it for $1.5 billion in 1968, earning a spot on Forbes' list of the 400 richest Americans. Mitchell died Oct. 16 at age 83. His work "was crucial to establishing the General Aviation Revitalization Act and having the milestone legislation signed into law," said Pete Bunce, president of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.
"GARA was revolutionary and without Monte Mitchell's hard work and perseverance, it would not have been possible," Bunce said. McGovern, who died on Sunday at age 90, visited EAA AirVenture in 2007. He flew 35 combat missions over Europe as a B-24 pilot. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross when he crash-landed on an island in the Adriatic Sea after being hit by enemy gunfire, according to EAA. "I was very lucky to get out," McGovern said during his Oshkosh visit. "I survived at a time when half of the B-24 crews in that theater did not make it."