Hall of Fame Inductee
Born in Racine, Wisconsin, Carlyle
Godske learned to fly after he returned home from World War I. Working
hard and flying often, he became known as "Racine's first pilot." In
1927, he took part in Wisconsin's first American Legion Air Tour and all
but single-handedly rescued the event after a fatal accident and the
Great Depression forced its cancellation in 1932. Dedicated to promoting
airport development throughout the state, the Legion Tour was the
largest annual aviation event in Wisconsin in the 1930s and early 1940s.
Godske started his Racine Flying
Service at his own landing strip near Sturtevant in 1932 and trained
hundreds of pilots from all over the state, including the young Sam
Johnson. On the eve of World War II, Godske joined other area
businessmen to develop the acreage that became the Racine-Horlick
Airport. He used the new field to start a Civilian Pilot Training
Program where prepared new pilots for military duty. He served as the
Racine Airport manager until 1949.
As World War II was drawing to a close,
Wisconsin made plans to accommodate an expanded role for aviation in the
postwar years. To chart that future, Governor Walter Goodland appointed
a twenty-eight member Special Aviation Advisory Board. The board was
chaired by Carlyle Godske. The board recommended that Wisconsin create
an Aeronautics Commission with real power, using state resources, to
develop and regulate aviation in Wisconsin. The Aeronautics Commission
as envisioned by Godske's Advisory Board was created on May 10, 1945,
two days after the war ended in Europe.
Godske then turned his efforts to the
family business, but retained his life-long dedication to aviation.