Thomas MacLean (1932-2017) exceeded his wildest dreams by becoming a USAF F84 Thunderjet pilot right before the end of the Korean War. The Warwick native joined the RI Air National Guard, where he was active from the early 1960s to the mid 1970s. He initially flew the C-46 Commando and the SA-16A Albatross, as well as the U-10 Helio Courier and other assorted aircraft. He also flew F84 fighter jets out of Connecticut, and was Governor John Chafee’s pilot in the 1960s. From the late 1950s until the early 1980s MacLean also flew for Pan American World Airways. He lived the Jet Age, making the transition from props to jets. When Pan Am pioneered affordable international air travel with the first major order for Boeing 747s, Tom became the youngest captain in Pan Am’s new 747 fleet.
The RIAHOF was honored to have recognized Mr. MacLean at the 2016 Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame Dinner, and we are glad he was able to attend. As per the family’s request, donations may be made in his memory by clicking here.
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Group includes one of America’s most famous explorers; a pioneer aviation photographer and pilot; Rhode Island’s first Naval Aviator; three World War I fliers; a World War II bomber pilot who is buried in Moscow; and two World War II pilots who flew in China.