This site is dedicated to the memory of Walt Fitzgerald. Walt was a veteran of the US Navy having been a back-seater specializing in electronic warfare in AD-1 Skyraiders off the USS Enterprise,. Walt went on to work for Philco Electronics where he designed and built the circuit-boards for the Apollo 11 lunar module. He then went on to teach at the Central Intelligence Agency. His remaining working life was spent at Ford Motor Company as one of their chief engineers annually testing Ford's upcoming fleet of vehicles by driving a convoy of them around the lower 48 US states.
In the 1990s Walt acquired a HT-295, Tri-Gear Helio Courier. He solo'd the aircraft and then went on to take his Private Pilot checkride in the aircraft. Walt also acquired a 1961 U-10A (H-395) which had been the first U-10A delivered to the US Air Force, 1st Air Commando Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Florida. The aircraft was flown by the Air Force from 1962-1970 and was then flown to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base to be retired at "The Boneyard".
Through several strange quirks, Walt found the aircraft at a local technical college in Michigan. He persuaded the college to trade the aircraft for a light twin-engine, Piper Aztec, airplane which he found in Canada and had a friend ferry to Michigan. The aircraft was transported to JAARS, Inc. in Waxhaw, NC, where it sat in storage for many years.
In 2005 the aircraft which had been registered with the US Air Force as 62-3603A began the restoration process. It was upgraded to JAARS STC'd safety seats which could withstand up to thirty negative or positive Gs. It was outfitted with state-of-the-air avionics. As per its pedigree it was painted in its original US Air Force Southeast Asia paintscheme.
Walt's desire was for his airplanes to educate the public on the Helio Courier. He made his airplanes available to a small team of high-qualified individuals who had a passion and love for Helio aircraft and for people.
He was a tireless advocate of JAARS, missions, and Helio aircraft. He dedicated much of his time and money to promoting these things.
Sadly, at 81 years old, Walt passed on December 7, 2020, due complications from dementia. His friendship and generosity will always be remembered by his small circle of friends. He was one-of-a-kind and we miss him dearly.
Phone: 704-980-9FLY (9359)