2019 GAHOF Inductees

Henry Edward Lowe, Sr.

1951 -

Henry Edward Lowe, Sr. was born in September 1951 in Macon, Georgia. He is a graduate of Lanier High School and is also an Eagle Scout. Henry attended Mercer University for one year then transferred to The University of Georgia where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

Henry and his two older brothers, Jim and Tom, grew up in the aviation business. His father, James Tarver Lowe, was a Naval Aviator during WWII. After the war in 1946, James Lowe started Lowe Aviation Company in Macon, GA. James Lowe was enshrined in the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame on May 18, 1996.

Henry soloed at 17 years old and went on to earn a commercial license with flight instructor, multi engine, and instrument ratings. Henry began working at Lowe Aviation Company in 1973. He flew powerline patrol, US Forest Service patrol, and Part 135 Air Taxi Charter. As a flight instructor, Henry taught many new pilots how to fly.

Henry is a certified Airframe and Powerplant mechanic with Inspection Authorization as well as Instrument Repairman license. He has and continues to maintain the aircraft that Lowe Aviation owns and flies with his son, Edward. Henry took over as president of Lowe Aviation Company and led the business to become a Part 145 FAA Certified Repair Station working on aircraft, instruments, autopilots and engines. As a broker, Henry has sold aircraft to customers in nearly every state in the U.S.

Henry has served as president of the Georgia Aviation Trade Association four times. He was a Founding Director of the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame and the Museum of Aviation. He is a member of many aviation trade organizations. He served as chairman of Macon Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee and Aviation Committee as well as many civic organizations. He was the General Aviation Advisor and Coordinator for three airshows hosted by Robins Air Force Base and he headed two airshows hosted by the Middle Georgia Regional Airport.

As president of the FBO of Lowe Aviation Company at Middle Georgia Regional Airport, Henry has dedicated his career to promoting and expanding aviation in Macon and throughout the great State of Georgia. He is grooming his son to take over the business one day and his greatest desire is for his son to perform as powerfully in General Aviation as he has. Henry has a very proud family heritage in the family business that his father started; and a business his son will continue to build and grow. What greater honor for Henry than to be enshrined next to his father, James Tarver Lowe (1996) in the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame.

Lance Toland

Lance Paige Toland is a Griffin, GA native and at the age of six lost both parents. He spent several years in foster care before being adopted by an uncle. His love of aviation began early. During a grade school trip to the fair, he diverted from the class and walked over to the Griffin Airport and requested permission to go look at the airplanes tied outside. Several years later, during high school, he took a job washing & servicing airplanes at that same airport.

Working for Robert McSwiggan at the Griffin Airport immersed Lance into the aviation culture of the time. He took his first solo flight at the age of 17 and began applying more than half his earnings to pursue pilot training. Riding along on a test flight from Macon to Griffin, McSwiggan offered Lance the opportunity to copilot a DC3. On landing, having learned the similarities between the large DC3 and the small Cessna, McSwiggan said, “Grab your log book,” as he signed off on Lance’s first dual cross-country flight in a Douglas DC3. For 10 years he plunged into aviation while attending Gordon College, West GA College & Woodrow Wilson College of Law.

Lance competed in sportsman aerobatics while studying law. Recovery from a near fatal crash provided Lance time to think. He decided to approach his mentor McSwiggan about returning to the cockpit. While flying freight solo at night, studying law by day, Lance’s professional experiences converged when McSwiggan approached him with a file of papers. “This is the company’s airplane insurance file,” he said.  “You are almost a lawyer and insurance broker. These costs are killing us—look at this on your trip.” McSwiggan’s strong admonition to simply “learn,” prompted Lance to review the documents as directed.  Lance discovered that Buckhead, GA was the hub for aviation insurance underwriting.

His experience in insurance made talking with underwriters easy. With an aviation background, many aviation underwriters saw value in an aviation expert coming to them with a new account. After a week or so of deliberations with Atlanta-based underwriters, Lance saved McSwiggan’s company $85K in annual insurance costs on a $265 proposal from the incumbent broker without losing or compromising coverages. A career was launched.

Over the next 35 years, Lance Toland Associates grew to become a respected legacy aviation insurance brokerage. The firm made its mark across the narrow-specialized spectrum of aviation insurance, launching programs for civil / military contractors, Fortune 100 companies & general aviation owner pilots worldwide. Notable clients include John Travolta, Chuck Yeager, Scott Crossfield and Bob Hoover. In 2017 his largest Corporate Fleet client was based in Moscow.

Toland has bought, sold and leased aircraft all over the world. With the fall of the Iron Curtain, he saw opportunity broke down important trade barriers with the US State department with former East Bloc countries.  He was one of the first westerners to fly soviet made military aircraft as well as being the first American to fly the Aero L39 at the factory in Prague and obtain the first letter of authorization to operate as a command pilot. Over the years he bought and sold many military aircraft, at one point he owned the 11th Largest Air Force in the world with over 51 aircraft in his AIR FORCE based at Griffin, GA.  Toland holds an Airline Transport Rating with over 17,000 hrs in general aviation aircraft, transports, corporate jets and helicopters.

Eager to encourage future generations of aviators, Lance was a founder Member of the Museum of Aviation as well as the GA Aviation Hall of Fame. He is a member of the Foundation Board of the College of Coastal Georgia, a benefactor of St. George’s School where he donated a 40-acre campus, 64,000 square feet of classrooms & and a gymnasium.  He previously served as a Board Member for the Stepping Stones School, which currently enrolls some 200 disadvantaged children with severe learning disabilities.

Lance was asked by Gov Sonny Perdue to serve on the Aviation Task Force that evaluated GA aviation infrastructure, including aircraft fleets and aviation trade schools. He was instrumental in applying aviation risk management recommendations that have saved GA millions of taxpayer dollars and in supporting the Eastman GA Aviation Trade School that has evolved into the School of Aviation at Middle Georgia State University.  

With a lifelong passion for aviation, owning and operating aircraft over the last 50 years, an illustrious  professional career, three aerospace patents, an award winning Documentary and a commitment to service of others, Lance has inspired future aviators and helped pave a safe and bright future for Georgia aerospace.

Captain Norman Topshe

1914 - 2009

Captain Norman Topshe was born in Camden, S.C. in May of 1914. He officially soloed July 5, 1936 in Albany, Ga. He received his private license on June 14, 1938 and commercial license on April 19, 1939. later he went on to Barnstorm through South, GA and North, FL until late 1939.

In late 1939 he served as Flight Instructor for Hawthorne flying Service in conjunction with the University of S.C. he then went on to accept a position as co-pilot with Delta Air Line where he remained until 1992. he retired after 31 years as a captain at the age of 60. He was then re-hired under a separate contract as a consultant in flight operations. He served as a liaison between the pilots and top management for an additional 17 years. He often rode the jump seat on all types of aircraft as a liaison between the flight crew and top management.

Captain Topshe’s career, both as a Captain and Flight Operation consultant turned out to be a Hallmark. In the early 1940’s he was elected Chairman of the Airline Pilots Union for Delta, then chairman of the Negotiating committee for the pilot’s contract. In mid 1945 he was elected as Chairman-Master Executive Council (MEC). During this time he co-authored and promoted the Pilot’s Mutual Aid Association which today is a multi-million dollar project which protects the pilot during an illness or disability. Later, it became a national project for the nation’s airlines. During the late 1940’s and early 1950’s Captain Topshe was appointed Chairman of the Retirement and Insurance Committee of Delta pilot’s. in the early and mid 1950’s he was also appointed Chairman of the Pilots Grievance Committee and Contract Administrations. Captain Topshe was also Chairman and mentor of most pilot contracts.

During his career he was also a line check airman on the CDC-9 and Boeing 747 performing periodic flight checks for qualified line pilots and initial line checks for new pilots. Captain Topshe served as a member of Delta’s Retirement and Insurance committee during contract negotiations in 1973 when their major retirement program went into effect based on 60% of final 5 years of a average earnings. They were leaders in the industry of this type of retirement program.

Captain Topshe’s last flight for Delta occurred in the summer of 1993 when at the age of 70 he ferried Delta’s only remaining DC-3 from
San Juan, PR to Atlanta. The DC-3 was restored to its original condition, licensed and flown on exhibitions throughout the US. His total time with Delta was 51 years covering over 7,000 pilots and logging approximately 33,000 flying hours.