Major contributors to the Southern California aviation and airport community will be honored in a ceremony on May 29 in a beautiful new display area in the Westchester business district north of Los Angeles International Airport. Flight Path worked in cooperation with Drollinger Properties to create the site in the Westchester Village shopping center at Sepulveda Boulevard and Howard B. Drollinger Way where names of honorees inscribed will be announced during the invitational event.
The Flight Path Board of Directors has unanimously approved recipients of the first four Honorary Service Awards, according to Nancy Niles, Flight Path president. They are the Bob Hope USO at LAX, Howard B. Drollinger, John A. Garstka and David Tallichet. Also honored that day will be Joseph J. “Tym” Tymczyszyn, with embedment of a plaque on Flight Path’s Aviation Walk of Fame adjacent to the ceremony site. The individuals are being honored posthumously.
“Our criterion for the Honorary Service Awards,” explained Niles, “is that each honoree has provided significant contributions or services for the advancement of the Southern California airport community. The 51 plaques on the Aviation Walk of Fame honor pioneers and luminaries who have made major contributions to aviation or aerospace.”
The Bob Hope USO at LAX has for many years been a “home away from home” for military service personnel enroute to or from their assignments. Staffed primarily by volunteers, the USO provides information, recreation and other assistance to these men and women and their families, many of whom are unfamiliar with LAX and the Los Angeles area. The center was named for the late comedian Bob Hope, who focused much of his career on entertaining American troops in places far from home.
Howard B. Drollinger operated a property management firm for many years in the LAX area. He was a key developer of Westchester’s upgraded Sepulveda Boulevard “gateway” to the airport, including shopping, parking and other amenities of benefit to travelers and area residents. He and his firm were noted for their philanthropic endeavors in the airport community. Drollinger served during World War II as an Army Air Forces navigator, flying 50 combat missions over Italy. He was a faithful supporter of Flight Path and the preservation of Southern California’s aviation heritage.
John A. Garstka earned recognition in the LAX community as a leader in education, business and support for training of future aviators. Garstka served 24 years in the U.S. Air Force during the Cold War and Vietnam War, retiring as a lieutenant colonel and master navigator. For heroism and heroic achievement he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal. Garstka was a certified public accountant, associate professor of accounting at Loyola Marymount University and an instructor in the LMU ROTC program. He served as chief financial officer of the Flight Path Learning Center and Museum.
David Tallichet was owner-operator of a group of restaurants, including the iconic Proud Bird adjacent to the LAX south runway complex. Under Tallichet’s direction, the Proud Bird became a showcase of aviation history, including replicas and models of significant aircraft on the grounds plus a large collection of aviation photos and other memorabilia inside the restaurant. Tallichet served in the Army Air Forces during World War II, co-piloting a B-17 bomber on more than 20 combat missions over Europe. He established the Military Aircraft Restoration Corp. to manage, restore and replicate vintage aircraft. Tallichet also was a strong supporter of Flight Path and its educational mission.
Joseph J. “Tym” Tymczyszyn achieved distinction as a test pilot on a wide variety of aircraft, including airline transports, military fighters, general aviation planes, helicopters and navigation systems. He was best known as the Federal Aviation Administration’s Project Pilot on the first two jet transports, the Boeing 707 and the Douglas DC-8. Tymczyszyn served as an instructor pilot and later as an engineering pilot in the Pacific during World War II. Born in Torrance, he lived for many years with his family in Westchester.