James Graybill, a pilot who has logged more than 33,000 flying hours in his career, was inducted into the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame on Nov. 6 in Lexington.
Graybill was born in Mason County and made his first solo flight at 16 years old. He later was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Kentucky and joined the United States Marine Corps. He served on the ground and earned the rank of captain during the Korean War. Certified instructor pilot work after the war was followed by a pilot position at Eastern Airlines beginning in 1961. After that, Graybill gained flying hours in nearly all the airliners that U.S. carriers operated.
Graybill has worked for FlightSafety Inc. and prepared materials for pilots of the Gulfstream IV executive aircraft. Joining Graybill in the induction to the Hall of Fame are Charles "Chip" Collins, test pilot for the MIT Flight Facility and contributor to the development of inertial navigation systems; David Fleming, U.S. Army aviator who led a National Guard unit in Kentucky; and Gene Soucy, air show performer and three-time national aerobatic champion.
The Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame has honored natives of Kentucky and other outstanding individuals for their aviation or aerospace achievements since the first enshrinement in 1996. Previous honorees include inventors, pilots, scientists, designers, military aviators, and a NASA shuttle astronaut.