Lewis A. Jackson, Ph.D - Aviation Pioneer - Innovator - Educator - Administrator
December 29, 1912 - January 8, 1994
Dr. Violet B. Jackson
Dr. Lewis Jackson, Xenia, Ohio (left) and C. Alfred "Chief" Anderson, Tuskegee, Alabama in the cockpit of a disassembled Waco UPF-7 vintage aircraft being rebuilt and refurbished in the yard and garage of George "Sky King" Vaughn on Hoover Avenue in Dayton, Ohio. During World War II Dr. Jackson was the Director of Training and Mr. Anderson was the Chief Flight Instructor for the 66th Army Air Corps Flight Training Detachment at Tuskegee's Moton Field. The UPF-7 was one type of aircraft used to train cadets. The cadets who successfully completed the program were transferred to the advanced flight training program conducted at the Tuskegee Army Airfield (Sharpe Field).
(July, 1976 photo by John Sherrer)
Dr. Lewis A. Jackson of Xenia, Ohio was born in Angola, Indiana, December 29,1912. While in grade school, he constructed model airplanes and read about cross-wind landings in encyclopedias. He had his first ride in an OX5 Swallow in 1927. In 1929, he designed and flew his own hang gliders-biplane and monoplane. At seventeen, he purchased a partially completed Alco Sport Monoplane and installed a motorcycle engine on it. A wind storm destroyed the airplane before it was flown.
In 1930, Jackson began formal flight instruction and by 1932 he had
completed seven hours of instruction in a Travelaire, a Waco 10, an
American Eaglet, and a Curtiss Jenny converted to a parasol monoplane. Five different pilots provided this instruction, after which Jackson soloed in his own Waco 10 in 1932.
From 1932 to 1937 Jackson barnstormed throughout Indiana and Ohio, earning money to pay his way through college. In 1937 he acquired the Transport Pilot's License in northern Indiana. In 1939, he was re-rated converting his Transport License to a Commercial License with Instructor Rating. The same year, Jackson earned a B.S. degree in Education at Indiana Wesleyan University, taught public school, and also pursued aviation activities.
In 1940, he joined Cornelius Coffey in the Coffey and Jackson Flying School (Chicago) where several Civil Pilot Training students were taught. Jackson completed advanced acrobatic training at Chicago School of Aeronautics. In October of this same year, he went to Tuskegee where, after teaching all ground school subjects, procuring an Airframe and Powerplant Mechanics License and an Instrument rating, Aerial Navigation, at Turner Air Force Base, Albany, Georgia, and the Civil Aeronautics Administration Cross Country Instructor Course at Northeast Airlines in Boston. He was appointed Director of Training at the Army Air Corps 66th Flight Training Detachment which prepared pilots who would eventually fly in the 99th Pursuit Squadron. As Director, Jackson guided the school to high standards of performance and on three different occasions, the students ranked first when compared to the other twenty-two schools in the Southeast Army Air
Corps Training Command.
After the war Jackson moved to Ohio where he became an FAA Flight Examiner and tested over 400 pilots for flight certification from 1947-1960. He developed an aircraft computer called a NAV-KIT which was used by many pilots in obtaining their licenses. Other activities included a multi-engine rating and appointment to the Citizens Advisory Committee, FAA, President of Experimental Aircraft Association. Chapter 382 for three years and Experimental Aircraft Association technical adviser as well as membership in Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association and the OX5 Aviation Pioneers.
"An airplane in every garage." That was a goal of Dr. Jackson. Until a few months before his death, he was still working on such a design--a roadable airplane which would accommodate the common man-an airplane which could be stored at home and towed or driven to the airport. In 1956 Dr Jackson created and flew the Versatile I (the first of ten experimental airplanes) developed to serve as both an airplane and a car. The idea was to drive it to the airport, take off, return, and then drive it home. In the early 1960's Dr Jackson created and flew a different experimental plane which folded its wings for land travel. Only 16-feet long, the plane would fit in a garage, once its 12-foot wing span was folded. On the highway it operated like a three-wheel motorcycle, cruising at 35 to 50 MPH. The propeller was behind the passenger compartment in a slot surrounded by body, wings, and tail. This design created enough attention in England to cause the Editors of Jane's All the World's Aircraft to portray and describe it to their world-wide membership of subscribers. Dr Jackson was not able to market any
of his experimental airplanes due to either design flaws or the inability
to produce the product economically with the level of government
regulations to be met.
In 1948, Jackson obtained a Master's Degree from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and in December, 1950 a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Ohio State University. The title of his dissertation is A Study Of Aviation Courses and Facilities in Higher Education in the United States with Predictions and Future Trends. He spent a year as Associate Professor of Aviation at Ohio State University. Jackson has also produced an unpublished book entitled, The New Fundamentals of Flight.
Dr. Jackson's life was also dedicated to education. He began teaching in
1936 in a one-room, eight-grade school. After World War II in 1946, he
began teaching at the college level, and served in many college and
university administrative positions including Graduate Dean, Dean of
Students, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Acting President and
President, Central State University, and Acting President and Vice
President for Administration at Sinclair Community College.
One of Dr. Jackson's great interests was in entrepreneurship. In 1974 he fostered the business entrepreneur program at Sinclair Community College. He firmly believed that more students should think as employers and thus be more self- reliant; that, in this way, students would be taught to create employment.
Jackson received many honors: Distinguished Alumnus Award, Indiana Wesleyan University Alumni Association; Frontier Award, First Frontier Inc.; Pioneer, Achievement, Trail Blazer Award, Links, Inc.; Special Recognition, Ohio Department of Transportation, Division of Aviation and Federal Aviation Administration; Certificate of Appreciation, Xenia Area Development Corporation.
Jackson served a number of years as a member of the Greene County Regional Airport Authority and the Board of Directors of the Xenia Area Development Corporation.