Captain Vic Hewes was born in Leicester, England, in 1922. Thirteen years later, sweeping hangars and washing planes in exchange for a few hours flying time at the local aero club, he launched a career in aviation that would be distinguished by military service, commercial flying, and aircraft safety expertise. In 1940, he joined the British Air Transport Auxiliary as a copilot flying combat aircraft from factories to squadrons. A year later, he transferred to the Royal Air Force, and after Pearl Harbor was sent to America as a single-engine flight instructor with the U. S. Army Air Corps. He went from Georgia to Moose Jaw, Canada, as multi-engine instructor and to Nova Scotia as operational pilot of Mosquitos. In 1944, Captain Hewes returned to England to fly combat missions in Europe and later in Southeast Asia, piloting Mosquitos and Spitfires. He completed active service as a VIP Squadron Commander on transport craft in Java during the Indonesian uprising in 1946. Two years later he joined Delta air Lines as a pilot in the United States. He became an American citizen and has lived in Georgia since, completing 34 years with Delta before his mandatory retirement at age 60 in 1982. One of the first line pilots in the world to obtain ratings on the DC-9, he holds ratings on the C-46, Convair 340, 440, 880, and 990, Lockheed L-I011 and Commercial Glider. In 1950 he flew the Korean airlift over the Pacific in the DC-4 as part of the CRAF program. He flew the Lockheed L-1011 for seven years over the North Atlantic to Bermuda, England, and Germany. Captain Hewes has been involved in aviation fire safety since 1940 and is recognized as one of the world's outstanding authorities on the subject. He formed a consulting firm upon his retirement from Delta and has lectured, presented papers, conducted seminars on airport safety, and appeared on radio and television throughout the world.
A veteran of more than 34,000 hours flying time and 12 million miles, he maintains flying proficiency in a number of craft and is a Wing Leader of the Confederate Air Force. Captain Hewes' service in the British Royal Air Force during World War II brought him the War Medal, Defense Medal, Burma Star, Africa Star, Atlantic Star, Aircrew Europe Star, Pacific Star, and 1939-1945 Star. National and international awards and recognition include the ALP A Air Safety Award, the NFPA Aviation Safety Award, the Aviation Week Distinguished Service Award, the NFPA Committee Service Award, Certificate of Honor, the prestigious Jerome F. Lederer Award for Technical Excellence and Outstanding Contributions to Accident Investigation by the International Society of Air safety Investigators, and the Aircraft Fire and Rescue Distinguished Service Award for Advancement of Aviation Fire Safety by the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
Captain Hewes and his wife, Betty, a native of Fort Valley, Georgia, whom he married in 1943, live in Atlanta. Captain Basil Victor Hewes, veteran of World War II, commercial airline captain, and advocate for aviation safety, was enshrined May 17, 1997.