Henry G. 'Hank' Beaird 1924-2009
Henry G. Beaird was born was born in 1924 at Headland, Alabama. Enlisting in the Army Air Corps during the Second World War, Beaird piloted numerous fighter and bomber aircraft while deployed in the Pacific Theater.
Following the war, Beaird attended the University of Alabama and graduated with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. During his aviation career, Beaird served as an aeronautical engineer for Chance-Vought Aircraft and Chief Engineering Test Pilot for Honeywell and Republic Aviation Corporations. While at Republic, Beaird conducted extensive test flights in the F-84 Thunderjet and XF-84 turboprop variant and piloted the first flight of a production F105B Thunderchief.
In 1963, Beaird became Chief Engineering Test Pilot for Lear Jet Industries and piloted the first flight of the Lear Jet prototype and ultimately set numerous world records with the aircraft during his career. Beaird also piloted the first flights of the Lear Fan and OMAC aircraft. Henry Beaird is a founding member and Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. Beaird has logged more than 17,000 hours at a pilot, set twenty-three aviation world records, and piloted eight first flights of newly designed aircraft.