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Thu, Jun 09, 2005

Frank Kingston Smith's Ashes Spread at Wings Field in Private Ceremony

Fifty Years to the Day After His First Flying Lesson

Frank Kingston Smith is now a permanent part of the landscape at Wings Field in Suburban Northeast Philadelphia. On June 2nd the ashes of the late aviation enthusiast, lawyer, author, speaker, and trade association executive were spread from a Cessna 170B flying over the airport, fifty years to the day after his very first logged lesson at Wings, June 2, 1955. Smith died on September 3, 2003 from a long battle with Alzheimer's disease, and it was his wish to that his ashes be spread at his beloved Wings Field.

Smith's two eldest sons, Frank Kingston Smith, Jr. and Doug, participated in the event. Marianne H. Smith, Frank's bride for 65 years, and youngest son, Greg, were unable to attend. All three sons--all accomplished pilots--took their first airplane rides at historic Wings Field, which celebrated its 75th anniversary on May 21, 2005.

The ashes were spread thanks to George Watson and his Wings Field-based Cessna 170B. The Smith Family expresses their heartfelt thanks to Mr. Watson and to the owners and officials of Wings Field for their cooperation.

After serving in World War II combat as a U.S. Navy PT Boat officer in the South Pacific, Smith graduated from law school and became a successful criminal trial attorney and partner in a Philadelphia law firm. Smith bought a nine-year-old Cessna 140 and learned to fly at Wings Field in 1955 as a way to relax from his job as a lawyer. Flying changed his life, and he progressively redirected his energy and enthusiasm to general aviation.

In 1959 Smith co-founded the Lawyer Pilots Bar Association, and in 1965, he left his law practice to become the executive director and later president of the National Aviation Trades (now Transportation) Association in Washington, D.C.

Smith became of the most prolific aviation writers of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. His columns in AOPA Pilot, Flying and Sport Aviation magazines were often the first page that pilots would turn to. He also was the author of many books, notably I'd Rather Be Flying, Weekend Pilot, and Flights of Fancy. Later, he wrote two aviation history books, Legacy of Wings, the story of Harold Pitcairn, and Aviation and Pennsylvania for the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. In total, Smith wrote over 1,000 articles, 16 books, and gave thousands of speeches.

In 1997, Smith received the Max Karant Lifetime Achievement Award from AOPA for his promotion and support of private aviation. Two years later, he received the Elder Statesman of Aviation Award from the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) for his significant contributions to aviation. Previously, Smith also received over 100 awards & citations from aviation organizations nationwide.

Smith was a Private Pilot with Multi-Engine & Instrument Ratings with over 10,000 hours logged.

FMI: www.frankkingstonsmith.com/Hale_and_Farewell.html, www.nata.aero/about/history.html, www.aopa.org/whatsnew/newsitems/2003/03-3-126x.htmlwww.lpba.org/history.htm, www.aopa.org/whatsnew/newsitems/2003/03-3-126x.html, www.aopa.org/pilot/kingston_smith/, www.eaa.org/communications/eaanews/030904_kingston.html, www.faa.gov/news/speeches/speeches/Blakey/2003/speeches_blakey_031107.htm

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