The Aviation World sadly mourns the loss of one of our own...
Oscar-Winning Actor, American Aviation Legend, and dear personal friend, the great Cliff Robertson died this week at the age of 88. This is so damn sad!!!
In aviation circles Cliff wasn't best known for the multitudes of roles he played throughout his long acting career, including the very first episode of The Outer Limits, my all-time fav...e, or his most recent film role as "Uncle Ben Parker" in the Spider-Man film series. Cliff's gentle spirit was one of an aviator through and through. His unwavering love and commitment to aviation was legendary!
Robertson, a pilot of many thousands of hours, he owned several de Havilland Tiger Moths, a Messerschmitt Bf 108 and a genuine World War II era Mk.IX Supermarine Spitfire MK923. He was truly the REAL deal!
Through his personal dedication to aviation and humanity Cliff accumulated many aviation awards including: AOPA's Sharples Award, given for "the year's greatest, selfless commitment to general aviation by a private citizen," for flying humanitarian relief into Nigeria during the Biafra Civil War. He was also presented the prestigious Heritage of Freedom Award, and in 1987, the Experimental Aircraft Association's highest honor, the "Freedom of Flight Award," for his role in the organization's "In Pursuit of Dreams" presentation. On July 15, 2006, Cliff was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio.
Robertson's affiliation with EAA, 'Experimental Aircraft Association' began a long time ago. Close friends with EAA founder, and WWII B-17 pilot, Paul Poberezny, Cliff personally helped launch the EAA's Young Eagles program, organized in 1992, serving as its first national honorary chairman, until 1995. Directly due to Robertson's efforts, since 1992 more than 1.6 million young people have flow for free by over 41,000 volunteer pilots each profoundly dedicated to introduce them to the indescribable beauty, freedom and adventure of flight. Hundreds upon hundreds of GA and professional commercial pilots got their very first taste of flight as a Young Eagle. Each, including my own daughter, owe a great dept of thanks to this GIANT of man!
This I say of my friend -- "Cliff lived up to every inch of the real American hero he truly was. Fine men like Cliff define the very measuring stick we should hold ourselves to aspire to become. I will forever be grateful for all the time and stories he shared with me personally over the years. And, he never once told me to get a haircut!!! I am truly honored to have called him my dear friend. Thank you sir. We will never forget you Cliff!" Blue Skies my friend... Respectfully, Joe Jones