78S40758 MMS-D

By:  Swinford                                                     H.R. No. 138

WHEREAS, For exceptional achievement in the field of aviation, Shelby M. Kritser of Amarillo is being inducted into the Distinguished Flying Corps Hall of Fame by the Texas Aviation Historical Society on May 31, 2004; and WHEREAS, Mr. Kritser was born in Amarillo on May 19, 1914, the son of a pioneer Panhandle family; he graduated as valedictorian of Texas Military Institute in San Antonio in 1931, received a degree in mechanical engineering from The University of Texas in 1935, and graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 1937; and WHEREAS, If there had ever been a question whether he would take to aviation, it seems to have been settled at the age of 18 when he received his first flying lesson: two weeks later he purchased his first airplane, and a few days after that he soloed for the first time, having had six hours and 20 minutes' worth of instruction; after completing school he joined Pan American Airways and served on the Bermuda/United States route before being assigned to the famous Yankee Clipper; and WHEREAS, Mr. Kritser returned to Amarillo in 1941 and opened a maintenance shop and aircraft sales department at English Field; in 1945 he formed a corporation with friends and launched the construction of Tradewind Airport for the use of private pilots and traveling businessmen; less than a year after the airport opened for business, it received the prestigious Haire Airport Award for "outstanding achievement for nonscheduled operations"; and WHEREAS, Continuing to develop his skills as a pilot, Mr. Kritser earned the Federal Aviation Agency's Air Transport Rating, the most advanced license issued at the time; he flew planes ranging from 45-horsepower Piper Cubs to multiengine aircraft and maintained membership in virtually every aviation organization in the country, including the National Aeronautics Association and the Silver Wings Association; and WHEREAS, In addition to his work with Tradewind Airport, Mr. Kritser devoted his energies to his ranch, a 122,000-acre spread on the north bank of the Canadian River, and to his duties at the Amarillo Globe-News, where he started in 1949 and for which he was made vice president and general manager in 1952; and WHEREAS, This distinguished gentleman also compiled a notable record of public service; Governors Price Daniel and John Connally each appointed him to a term on the Texas Aeronautics Board, and in 1964 he was named chairman of the Texas Aeronautics Commission; highly regarded for his capable leadership, he received appointments to the Texas Game and Fish Commission and Texas Tourist Commission; and WHEREAS, Mr. Kritser gave generously of his time and talents to the Amarillo community, serving on many boards concerned with projects of civic betterment and, with his wife, lending substantial support to the cultural life of the city; and WHEREAS, Shelby Kritser died on April 13, 1966, at the age of 52, in the crash of a stunt plane during Amarillo's Aviation Day; and WHEREAS, It is altogether fitting that Shelby M. Kritser be recognized for his eminent contributions to aviation in the State of Texas and that a chronicle of those contributions be preserved at the English Field Air & Space Museum for this and future generations; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives of the 78th Texas Legislature, 4th Called Session, hereby pay special tribute to the memory of Shelby M. Kritser on the occasion of his induction into the Distinguished Flying Corps Hall of Fame by the Texas Aviation Historical Association; and, be it further RESOLVED, That an official copy of this resolution be prepared for the members of his family as an expression of high regard by the Texas House of Representatives.