Ridgeland, SC – The first official flight of the South Carolina Aviation Medallion occurred Saturday, January 17, 2015 from Ridgeland–Claude Dean Airport (3J1). Created as a physical manifestation and celebration of the rich aviation heritage of The Palmetto State, the commissioned artwork was handcrafted from 28 ounces of bronze into a large aviation-themed medallion. One side of the medallion depicts the first aircraft in the state of South Carolina flown on July 4, 1911. The reverse side asserts the medallion’s proud name, South Carolina Aviation Medallion – affectionately known as the “SCAM” among local aviators.
The purpose of the South Carolina Aviation Medallion is to support, promote, and celebrate all forms of aviation in the state. Aviators are encouraged to fly the medallion, along with its commemorative logbook, on recreational and business flights. As the medallion travels, pilots are encouraged to chronicle the events of each flight and the destinations where the medallion lands in the accompanying logbook. An attached tracking device makes it possible for enthusiasts to follow the medallion’s journey from airport to airport and state to state via a dedicated website (www.scavmedallion.com).
Fittingly, the medallion was first carried aloft by Mr. Claude Dean and Mr. Charles Pinckney in partial celebration of the fact that the Ridgeland Airport, the home base of the medallion, was recently renamed in honor of Dean. Dean’s 1956 Piper Tri-Pacer, an aircraft he has owned for 44 years, was the inaugural transport.
In addition to the social and recreational aspects of the South Carolina Aviation Medallion, the initiative also serves to raise awareness of the value and broad utility of general aviation. General Aviation contributes $150B dollars to the U.S. economy annually and employs approximately 1.2 million people. The positive economic impact of having a general aviation airport located in or near communities not serviced by scheduled commercial carriers cannot be overstated as a vital link to transportation and commerce.
The grass roots effort to leverage the South Carolina Aviation Medallion to promote all forms of regional aviation and commensurate financial impact is officially underway. “The first chapter of the story has now been written and new chapters will be added daily by fellow aviators,” stated Lee Logan, the retired Marine fighter pilot, aircraft builder, and aerospace worker behind the SCAM. “This initiative is a fun, interactive and highly social way to promote the utility, camaraderie and recreational benefits of general aviation in the southeastern region.”
For details about the medallion’s whereabouts and to discover how to become part of the movement, visit www.scavmedallion.com.