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Renown Air-Show Pilot Charles Hutchins Passes at 86

ICAS Sword of Excellence Recipient Remembered

Charles Hutchins, the former team lead for Tora Tora Tora, passed away in his Texas home on the morning of 17 October 2023. He was 86-years-old. For the final two years of his life, Mr. Hutchins fought bravely against dementia’s unremitting advance.  

Mr. Hutchins is a former chairman of the ICAS Board of Directors, the 2006 recipient of the ICAS Sword of Excellence, and part of the Tora team that took home the Art Scholl Memorial Showmanship Award in 2001. Mr. Hutchins served as Tora lead, in the air and on the ground, for more than forty-years—during which he helped establish not only the team’s national reputation for excellence, but his own as, perhaps, the air-show community’s most amicable and gentlemanly chap.

Mr. Hutchins was instrumental in Tora Tora Tora’s involvement in the 1980 science fiction war film The Final Countdown and the 2001 romantic war/drama film Pearl Harbor.

ICAS will pass along details pertaining to Mr. Hutchins’s memorial service as they become available.

Of the many accolades garnered during Charles Hutchins’s long and remarkable life, special consideration is owed the ICAS Sword of Excellence.

Given each year since 1981 the Sword is broadly considered the single highest honor achievable by an individual air show professional.

The ICAS Sword of Excellence Award is given in honor of outstanding overall service or personal contributions to the air show industry. Consideration may be given to exceptional, consistent, and personal efforts that have made a substantial impact in the improvement, growth, or recognition of the industry over a long period of time or a distinguished short-term contribution of extraordinary value. The award is not limited to contributions within ICAS, but is reflective of selfless contribution to the air show industry as a whole. Recipients need not be members of ICAS.

Selection of ICAS Sword of Excellence Award recipients is by unanimous decision of a Selection Committee comprising: one member of the ICAS board of directors, two past recipients of the award, and two at-large ICAS members, both of whom must be veterans of at least a full decade’s experience in the air-show business.



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