Jet service pioneer at Van Nuys Airport gets Howard Hughes honor

Clay Lacy, a veteran pilot, air race champion and aviation entrepreneur who introduced the first corporate jet service in the western United States, received the Howard HughesMemorial Award Wednesday night from the Aero Club of Southern California.

Lacy, 79, a prominent figure at Van Nuys Airport whose career has spanned almost  60 years, was presented the club’s highest honor at a banquet in downtown Los Angeles.

The award places Lacy in the ranks of other famous Hughes recipients such as Jack Northrop, Jimmy Doolittle,  Chuck Yeager, Ed Heinemann, Neil Armstrong, Burt Rutan and Bob Hoover.

Lacy flew for the first time at age 12 and received his student pilot permit two years later.  By the time he was 19, he had logged 1,500 hours in the air, enough to convince United Airlines to hire him as a co-pilot in 1952. He flew Douglas DC-3s.

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-- Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times



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