Hall of Fame Inductee
Born in Green Bay in 1927, and raised
in Niagara, Wisconsin, Dan Donovan began his flight instruction at age
13 and soloed in a Cub at age 16. It was the beginning of more than
seven decades as a pilot and more than 43,000 hours of flight time.
After two years in the Navy, graduation
from Marquette University, and work as a flight instructor at
Milwaukee’s Timmerman Airport, Donovan became a pilot for North Central
Airlines. Over the next 33 years, he occupied the pilot’s seat in
airliners ranging from North Central’s DC-3s to Republic’s Convairs, and
on to every model of Northwest’s DC-9s.
His passion for safety and advanced
pilot training earned him a seat on the Air Line Pilots Association’s
Accident Investigation Board at its creation in 1974. Safety and
training programs he initiated at Republic became models for other
airlines and led Dan to additional service on numerous regional,
national, public and private research, training, and safety boards and
“During the darkest hours that follow
an accident or violation, Dan always was there.”
Upon his retirement in 1987, Donovan
received the prestigious Air Safety Award of the Air Line Pilots
Association. In his “leisure” hours, Donovan volunteered for service in
the Civil Air Patrol, serving as an instructor and check pilot for 30
years. Known as “the primary architect of the safety culture” for the
CAP in Wisconsin, his was “the last word,” for CAP pilots.
In acknowledgement of his
professionalism, piloting abilities, and safe operations for more than
50 years, Donovan was awarded the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award by
the FAA in 2008.
For the pilots of ALPA, “He was our
teacher and helper in the finest sense of the word… and our professional
environment is a safer one because of Dan.”
Captain Dan Donovan