Beverly E. "Old Maestro" ""Old Maestro"" Howard

Beverly E. "Old Maestro"""Old Maestro"" Howard (1914 - 1971)

A native of Bath, SC, Beverly E. Howard was born Aug 11, 1914. He grew up in Augusta, GA, where he learned to fly at age 16. With money saved from a newspaper route, he bought a 1927-vintageOX-5-powered Waco-10. He left college in 1932, joining the Hawthorne Aviation Company in Charleston, SC, where he became president. He also worked with Eastern Airlines until 1938, giving him extra capital to invest in his company. At 21, he was one of the youngest commercial transport pilots flying for the airlines. Prior to WW II, Hawthorne Aviation provided flight training for the College of Charleston, the Citadel, and the University of SC, first as the Civilian Pilot Training Program, later with the War Training Service. In 1941, Howard won an Army contract for Hawthorne to establish a primary flight school at Orangeburg, SC. Throughout the war, the school trained more than 7,000 American and French pilots. For service to France and in recognition of aerobatic skills, Howard received the French Air Wings, the Medaille de l'Aeronautique and the Ordre Nationale de la Legion D'Honneur. Following WW II, he established flight training programs for the Pakistani Air Force in Jacksonville, FL, and in 1951, he won a contract for Hawthorne to train pilots and aviation support personnel at Spence Air Base in Moultrie, GA. During it operation from 1951 to 1960, this school trained 10,000 pilots from 32 countries. Highly rated by the Air Training Command, it was the only primary school ever to receive two consecutive USAF Flying Safety Awards.

A successful trainer and businessman, Bevo Howard was an expert pilot. Affectionately known as the "Old Maestro," his name has been identified with aerobatics since the early 1930s. Bevo Howard flew more than 1,500 flawless exhibitions, thrilling more than 30,000,000 spectators. He won the National Aerobatics Championship in 1939-41, and the International Aerobatic Championship in 1946, 47 and 49. He served on civic and business boards, helping shape and guide the Aerobatics Club of America. He was inducted into the Experimental Aircraft Association Hall of Fame, and the SC Aviation Hall of Fame. He never gave up performing in his Bucker Jungmeister -- thrilling audiences across the nation. Beverly E. "Bevo" Howard died in 1971 while performing aerobatics at Greenville, N C, for the benefit of a boy's club. He died doing what he could do better than anyone else -- putting his bi-wing Jungmeister through its paces, his aircraft is on display at the National Air & Space Museum.

The "Old Maestro," Beverly E. "Bevo" Howard was enshrined into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame, May 18, 1996.