West Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame, Located at NCWV Airport, Announces Honorees for Class of 2023

West Virginia – The West Virginia Airport Managers Association is pleased to announce the selection of two new inductees into the West Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame. Thomas R. Cochran, Director of Raleigh County Memorial Airport in Beckley, WV, and Perry E. Dillon formerly of Elkins, WV, were selected to join this esteemed group after careful review and consideration. 

Thomas (Tom) R. Cochran began his aviation career as an aircraft mechanic for Trans World Airlines in Washington DC before returning to West Virginia in 1971. It was here Tom’s true influence took shape as he guided Raleigh County Memorial Airport’s path forward. With his foresight and collaborative approach, Tom not only ensured the airport flourished, but that the region did as well. His commitment to economic diversification led to corporate hangar and industrial park developments, partnerships with higher education institutions providing a pathway for training for those seeking positions in aerospace technology, and passenger experience upgrades. His influence on aviation in southern West Virginia is unmatched to date. 

Perry E. Dillon was a dedicated commercial airline pilot, launching his career at Lake Central Airlines in 1964 after overcoming many obstacles in his pursuit of his dream. His successful career as a pilot spanned 38 years. His legacy continues today as Perry was a founding member of the Elkins Pilots Club as well as the club’s first instructor; allowing others to earn their wings and experience the joy of aviation. Mr. Dillion will be inducted posthumously, having passed away in 2021 at the age of 84.

Tom and Perry will be formally inducted during a special ceremony on July 31, 2023, at the Canaan Valley Resort in Davis, West Virginia, beginning at 5:30 pm. Tickets to the event can be purchased for $60 by contacting:

The West Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame honors pioneers and leaders in the aviation industry who have made significant contributions to aviation in the state of West Virginia. The West Virginia Airport Managers Association also sponsors the West Virginia Aviation Wall of Valor, which honors living persons or those who gave their lives in aviation actions where they exhibited valor. 

No nominations for the WV Aviation Wall of Valor were received in 2023. Since its inception in 2014, the West Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame has inducted 21 individuals. The West Virginia Aviation Wall of Valor, formed in 2018, currently has six members.

Formal viewing galleries are located at the North Central West Virginia Airport (CKB) in Bridgeport.