Lt. Col. Christofer B. Smisson

Lt. Col. Christofer B.Smisson (1948 - 2003)

Christofer B. Smisson, a native of Macon, Georgia, graduated from Emory University. He attended Air Force pilot training and served in Georgia, first as a supersonic T-38 instructor at Moody Air Force Base and later as an F-l00, F-105 and F-4 fighter pilot in the Air National Guard at Dobbins Air Reserve Base. He was formally recognized on several occasions for feats of airmanship which prevented the possible loss of valuable fighter aircraft. His service as maintenance officer during the unit's transition to F-15s resulted in combat modifications that later were adopted throughout the Air Force. Simultaneous with his military career, Smisson rose through the ranks of Delta Air Lines, eventually serving as captain on Boeing 727, 737, 757 and 767 aircraft. Sought out by senior management for his input on a wide variety of safety initiatives, he provided a catalyst for change in fatigue management and flight deck system modifications. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, his aerobatic expertise was useful in the development of commercial aircraft anti-terrorist maneuver training; however it was as a recreational pilot that Smisson truly set himself apart. A member of the only U.S. National Glider Team to win a medal in international competition, he himself won a U.S. Aerobatic Championship. Smisson gave the public a taste of air-to-air combat by offering a dogfight course in T-34s to anyone, regardless of their flying experience. He also pio­neered the import of Eastern Bloc aircraft, creating a number of YAK, Zlin and Sukkoi enthusiasts in Georgia, unmatched anywhere else in the United States. Thrilling millions of air show visitors throughout Georgia and the southeast, his fluid style set to music influ­enced many of today's performers. He was among the first to combine rear-facing lighting with smoke to create a spectacular twilight aerobatic display. He focused on youth out­reach and built a successful enterprise toward that purpose called The fly-in homestead Smisson created near Whitesburg has become a mecca for Georgia aviation enthusiasts; the airstrip is a regular stop for visiting pilots, and his aviation library is unmatched in the State. Smisson was a distinguished Air Force fighter pilot, airline pilot, national glider aerobatic champion and renowned air show performer with over 20,000 flying hours in a wide variety of military, commercial, civilian and experimental aircraft. He formerly served as a member of the board of directors for the Museum of Aviation Foundation, Warner Robins, Georgia, and has been a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, International Aerobatic Club and the Order of Daedalians.

In recognition of his distinguished military and civilian contributions to aviation, Lieutenant Colonel Christofer B. Smisson was enshrined into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame on April 29, 2006.