A long-time supporter of the National Stearman Fly-in will be honored during this year’s event.
She is LaVerne Heck of Louisville, KY.
Heck’s contributions are small in size, but highly sought after by Stearman pilots and others who attend the annual event at Galesburg Municipal Airport.
They’re stickers. This year’s version features an Army Air Corps Stearman surrounded by the words “National Stearman Fly-In 2018.”
Nancy Lowe of Crystal Lake, IL, the Fly-In’s historian, says the stickers were the idea of pilot Dick Hansen, Batavia, IL. He had some made and sent them to the Stearman Restorers Association to promote the third Fly-In in September 1974. They were distributed in the June 1974 issue of SRA’s newsletter “Outfit” and read “Happiness Is … Stearman Fly-In 74.”
Hansen provided the stickers for several years until Heck took over in 1981, the 10th anniversary year for the Fly-In.
“She has faithfully continued providing them every year since then, including this year,” Lowe says. “They have become a collector’s item and are much coveted by Stearman pilots and other attendees.”
Heck, a real estate agent, was a Certified Flight Instructor in Louisville and teaching students in a Stearman when she first attended the Galesburg Fly-In.
She was part of a group of Louisville Stearman enthusiasts who called themselves the “Palmer-Ball Air Force.” It was named for Stearman owners Nick and Larry Palmer-Ball, brothers who owned a plastic pipe manufacturing company.
The late aviation columnist Gordon Baxter described the fastidious Palmer-Ball brothers as “polishing nuts”
Lowe said a plaque observing Heck’s contributions over the years will be presented to her.