Cradle of Aviation 11th Annual Air & Space Hall of Fame Luncheon

Cradle of Aviation 11th Annual Air & Space Hall of Fame Luncheon
Sally Smyth, widow of test pilot Robert Smyth, accepts her husbands induction into the LI Air & Space Hall of Fame. Andrew Parton, the museum’s president, said the 11th Hall of Fame class represents “some of the best that we’ve ever had.”

The Cradle of Aviation held its’ 11th Annual Air & Space Hall of Fame luncheon on June 29, 2021, honoring aerobatic pilot David Windmiller, founder of GSE Dynamics Daniel J. Shybunko and test pilot Robert Smyth, recognized for their achievements in aeronautics and technology and their passion for aviation.

Cradle President Andrew Parton welcomed the sizable group, smiling while remarking “You don’t know how happy we are to be here today,” a sentiment met with thunderous applause from all present. And promised a new experience “Lunch!” -referring to the first of in-person events held.

Now a little about the Class of 2021 inductees:

  • David Windmiller began flying at 14. Intensely interested in aerobatics, he earned a spot on the US Aerobatics team in 1999 and became a finalist at the World Championships in 2000. Now retired from professional competition, David still performs at the annual Jones Beach Airshow and is a FAA designated pilot examiner for both airplanes and helicopter. He spoke of being fortunate to watch and be involved in the evolution of aviation, from wartime to the present day technology.
  • Daniel J. Shybunko worked as a structural engineer with Grumman for 25 years and while still working there founded his own firm, GSE Dynamics to produce better quality parts for aerospace companies. Daniel steadily developed GSE into a major aerospace and defense firm on Long Island and then nationally, working with his daughter Anne Sybunko-Moore, who has taken over the business after his death in October 2019.
  • Robert Smyth was a naval fighter pilot who then graduated in 1952 as a Navy test pilot. His wife Sally Smyth remarked “he flew everything the Navy ever created.” Joining Grumman as a test pilot in 1955, he became their Chief Test Pilot by 1967, and in 1990 he performed the first flight of Long Island built F-14A tomcat! After leaving Grumman in the early 1980”s Robert became the director of flight operations for Gulfstream Aerospace and served as the pilot on most of the world-circling record-setting flights of the Gulfstream III and IV in the late 1980’s. Sally Smyth, widow of Robert Smyth, accepted his award posthumously and spoke of his long and successful career, and how he modestly attributed it to being in the right place at the right time.
Cradle of Aviation 11th Annual Air & Space Hall of Fame Luncheon
After graduating from Bard College with a major in languages, Roberta spent a year in Germany and France before joining Trans World Airlines in the early 70’s. At TWA she became the Ambassador and Constellation Club supervisor at JFK. An interest in food fostered by her international travel lead to “Deliciously Dunn”, her catering and gift basket business for 20 years, while still working at TWA. After the demise of the airline, Roberta became the North American sales rep for La Source, a 5 star resort in Grenada. When hurricane Ivan destroyed the island, she went on to work for Airport Press. Most recently Ms. Dunn is the Skating Director at the City of Long Beach, NY skating rink. Roberta is a US Figure Skating Gold Medalist in ice dancing and has skated since she was 17. Another of her passions is photography and her photos have been used in several publications. Roberta still travels extensively, enjoys cooking and entertaining and skates practically every day.

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