FaustHOF.jpgThe Wyoming Aviation Hall of Fame honored its 28th inductee Sept. 28 at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody.

Elmer Faust, formerly of Cody, is the 2019 inductee. Faust’s major contributions to Wyoming aviation include his role in the development of aviation in Cody and the exceptional aircraft maintenance he provided to pilots throughout the Big Horn Basin and beyond.

Faust began flying in the 1920s in a Curtis Jenny. While working as an auto mechanic in Cody, Faust built his first airplane, a Corben Junior Ace, in his spare time.

Rather than purchase the entire kit, he obtained a set of blueprints and an engine and relied on his mechanical skills to build the airplane. During the late 1920s and continuing into the 1930s, Faust, along with several other Cody residents, cleared a pasture of rocks and brush to form a landing strip and then used a truck to pull a drag to smooth the landing surface. Later, he constructed two hangars at the airstrip. Along with a hangar built by the city, these became the first structures at what would become the Cody airport. In honor of his efforts to help establish an airport, the terminal was named the E.E. Faust Terminal in 1992. 

Faust began providing aircraft maintenance in the late 1930s. In 1949, he formally established Cody Aero Service, and for many years was the only mechanic in the Big Horn Basin and surrounding area. Faust was awarded the Federal Aviation Administration Aviation Mechanic Citation for his efforts that contributed significantly to the safety and increased reliability in aviation maintenance and for his efforts toward improved maintenance practices. Faust’s mechanical abilities led to his strong interest in the mechanical aspects of aircraft, and though aircraft maintenance was his primary business, rebuilding older aircraft was his passion. He rebuilt aircraft including a 1937 Fairchild 24, 1928 Mono Coup and several Waco Aircraft Company (WACO) aircraft. A 1933 WACO UIC that he restored in 1976 for use in the oil pipeline industry in Casper eventually was donated to the Smithsonian’s Paul E. Garber Storage Facility, the National Air and Space Museum’s reserve collection of historically significant aircraft. Faust also built and modified a late-1940s Piper PA-12. When it was completed in 1954, this heavily modified airplane became known as the Faust 301 and was still flying in 2019. 

During World War II, Faust served his country as an instructor at Hancock College of Aeronautics in California where he taught aircraft mechanics and engines. This included being the lead instructor for a new program designed to train young women to be aircraft mechanics.

Born on Nov. 29, 1900, in the community of Otto, southeast of Cody, Faust grew up in Meeteetse and Cody and graduated from Cody High School. Faust passed away in Cody on March 24, 1989. 

The Wyoming Aviation Hall of Fame is a non-profit, publicly supported, tax-exempt organization dedicated to honoring individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the establishment, development and/or advancement of aviation in Wyoming. The organization comprises a board of directors and operates in conjunction with the Wyoming Aeronautics Commission. Founded in 1994 through the efforts of the late Red Kelso of Cheyenne, the Wyoming Aviation Hall of Fame held its first induction in 1995.

For more information about the hall of fame or to nominate an individual, please call Board Chairman John Waggener in Laramie at 307-766-2563.