Farmingdale State College’s Department of Aviation has established an Aviation Hall of Fame with an inauguration ceremony at the Aviation Center south of the main campus. at the University Club earlier this month. The event honored Lou Howard, former chair of the aviation department and one of the pioneers of the program, which dates back to the 1960s.
At the induction, Farmingdale State president Hubert Keen noted that “Farmingdale was indeed fortunate to have Lou Howard as a member of the campus community. Our aviation program enjoys its fine reputation today because of his dedication and expertise.”
Campus administrators, faculty and staff, as well as industry representatives, attended the event to honor Howard, who also is a former SUNY Trustee and well-known in local political, community, and athletic circles.
Howard, who has a PhD in Aerospace, wrote an early textbook designed to teach pilots how to fly using instrument landing systems and was appointed to serve on a federal advisory committee to help design the first space shuttle for NASA. To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's famous transatlantic flight, he retraced the flight, landing in LeBourget field outside of Paris.
Howard was the founding chairman of what was then known as the Department of Aerospace in 1969. The program began with three planes. Today, it has a fleet of 23 planes, two flight simulators, and a 19,000 square-foot Aviation Center at Republic Airport consisting of classrooms, aircraft and engine labs, flight operations and briefing rooms, an aircraft hangar, and faculty offices. Farmingdale has the only Professional Pilot program at a public university in the state.
He has served as a Village of Amityville Mayor and Trustee, and was a Presiding Officer of the Suffolk County Legislature and a State Assemblyman.
Inductee co-chairs were aviation professor Jeanne Radigan and alumnus Warren Kroppel, an executive with Sheltair.