Class of 2009 – Clay Lacy
The biographical information below was compiled by Alan Renga, Assistant Archivist, for the 2009 International Hall of Fame Gala. For more information on the Museum’s Library and Archives, click here.
He has more flying time than anyone walking the earth today. He founded the most respected jet charter service in America. He has made incredible contributions to aerial cinematography. He is Clay Lacy.
Clay Lacy was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1932. From as early as he can remember, he has been interested in aviation. He built his first flying model in 1940 when he was only 8 years old, and had his first flight at age 12!
In 1968, Clay Lacy established the first executive jet charter service west of the Mississippi, using a leased Learjet and then bought his first Lear two years later. Today, his fleet has grown to include Learjets, Gulfstreams and Boeing 727s. Lacy strives to offer the best possible support and accommodations to the executive traveler and is personally involved with all aspects of this operation. All flight crews are trained to the most demanding airline standards, and factory-trained mechanics keep a watch over the fleet. It is Clay Lacy’s attention to detail which sets his company apart from other charters.
The rest of his time spent as part pilot, part director, and part videographer. Lacy has conducted over 2500 air-to-air photography flights! He has shot commercials and Hollywood blockbusters, including scenes for Top Gun and The Right Stuff. Lacy films with an Astrovision camera system-a concept he developed. Astrovision provides the smoothest, clearest and most efficient aerial photography available. If you are watching a air to air scene, there is a very good chance it is shot with Astrovision and Clay himself might be doing the shooting!
Clay Lacy carries has spent more time in the pilot’s seat than any other human: over 50,000! To place this accumulation of flight time in perspective, it would take over five years of non-stop gear-up to touch down flying to equal this feat. In addition, he is an accomplished air race champion!
For his being one of the most accomplished pilots on the planet and creating one of the most significant charter services in the world, the San Diego Air & Space Museum takes great pride in inducting Clay Lacy into its International Aerospace Hall of Fame.