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Virginia air history group honors three flyers

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Hall of Fame

Steve Hoffmann, Capt. John Corradi and CAP Col. Floyd Callihan are the newest members of Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society’s Hall of Fame.

Aviation isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when talking about Virginia, yet the state has a long list of aerospace pioneers, and that honor list grew Oct. 19, when three new members were added to the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society’s Hall of Fame gathering at Fredericksburg’s Hospitality House Hotel and Conference Center.

The event, held yearly, drew nearly 200 people, nearly all of them involved in some facet of the state’s aviation and aerospace industries, including a number of previous recipients of the honors.

Dave Young, a 2015 honoree, introduced this year’s inductees, commencing with Civil Air Patrol Col. Floyd Callihan who, with 65 years involvement in Virginia aviation, played a key role in founding the state’s active CAP wing.

Callihan, 92, who lives in Goochland, has initiated or overseen most major undertakings of that organization, including construction of the Virginia Wing Headquarters building and is a major donor to the Shannon Air Museum. He has led or otherwise participated in a number of searches for missing aircraft in a long career.

Steve Hoffmann has played a key role in a wide range of activities and projects in Virginia aviation.

Of particular interest locally, is the long-term involvement of both Steve Hoffmann and John Corradi in the Flying Circus in Bealeton.

Hoffmann, 80, is a veteran hot air balloonist, and was largely responsible for bringing the colorful balloons to that long running aerial extravaganza. At one time, Hoffman even built certificated hot air balloons at his plant in Ashland.

Hoffmann also brought air shows to the Kings Dominion amusement park with nighttime shows there. Retired now, he lives in Lake Worth, Fla.

Capt. John Corradi, 76, moved to Rixeyville in Culpeper County in 1975, when he was flying for United Air Lines.

He had already enjoyed a varied and colorful career flying for the U.S. Navy before leaving the service to fly for the airlines.

But those careers seem only to have been a start for Corradi, who went on to become a mainstay at the Flying Circus, flying his white Waco.

Corradi had a hand also in getting the acclaimed Culpeper Air Fest air show off the ground.

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