Aerobatics Champ a Model of Perfection in the Air
Deborah Jean Rihn-Harvey (right) was
born May 8, 1951 in Omaha (NE), and her aviation interests came
naturally as she became a third-generation flyer. Rihn’s
father taught her how to fly and she earned her Private Pilot
Certificate in 1968. After earning her commercial pilot certificate
with instrument, multi-engine and flight instructor ratings, she
moved to Texas in 1974 and chose aviation as her career.
In 1979, Harvey & Rihn Aviation was established in LaPorte
(TX) as a Fixed Base Operation with an emphasis on aerobatics and
flight instruction. She continued her professional growth by
becoming an FAA Designated Flight Examiner in 1980 and an aerobatic
competency evaluator in 1984. Debby Rihn’s love of aviation
is obvious in all that she does toward the promotion of flight
education and safety. She devotes time and energy to encourage,
support and counsel women and youth to pursue aviation.
Rihn began flying commercially with United Airlines in 1979 and
later with Southwest Airlines in 1989. (She was the eleventh female
pilot to wear a Southwest Airlines uniform.) Rihn became a
Southwest Airlines Captain in 1994 and has logged in excess of
23,000 hours of flight time.
In 1975 she was introduced to the world of aerobatics, igniting
a passion that continues to this day. In 1983 Rihn entered the
upper echelon of aerobatic competition by qualifying for the USA
Unlimited Aerobatic Team. With 20 years continuous involvement, she
is now the team’s longest standing member.
Rihn’s individual accomplishments rank her as one of the
world’s leading aerobatic pilots. She was the Women’s
National Unlimited Champion in 1985 and then again for five
consecutive years from 1998 to 2002. Debby has won both individual
and team medals internationally, where she was World Competition
Gold Medallist ranked third overall.
and accomplishments extend beyond precision competition aerobatics.
She has a well-deserved reputation as one of the top air show
performers in the United States and serves as a role model for all
pilots eager to hone their aviation skills. Her ability speaks for
itself, providing continuous testimony to the power of the human
The Texas Aviation Hall of Fame honors Texans who have made
outstanding contributions to the development, growth, or
preservation of aviation.
Male Texans honored this year, too:
Additional Class of 2003 inductees are: Gordon Bethune, CEO of
Continental Airlines; Archie Donahue (next to Corsair), WWII Marine
Corps fighter pilot who completed 215 combat missions and shot down
14 enemy aircraft [he was twice an 'ace in a day' --ed.]; Dr. Leo
Windecker, designer of the first certified all-composite aircraft
(below) and innovator of stealth technology; and John W. Young, the
first person to fly six times in space, working aboard missions
from Gemini III in 1965, to the first Spacelab flight in 1983. With
the addition of these individuals, the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame
honors 44 outstanding men and women who have made significant
contributions to aviation.
Fly-in: November 9.
Following the Induction Ceremony, the Lone Star Flight Museum
will host an end-of-season fly day on Sunday, November 9. This
informal flying event will feature vintage aircraft from the Lone
Star Flight Museum collection and other aircraft from the area as
we salute our veterans. Gates open at 9:00AM with flying to begin
at noon and continue until 3:00 PM. Throughout the day, visitors
will be able to tour the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame and view
exhibits honoring the five new inductees. (Admission is $7.00
for adults, $5.00 for children, with children 4 and under admitted
free. No special passes or coupons will be accepted.)