April 14, 2021, 02:41:21 pm

Maj. David O. Henderson

Started by ironputts, March 08, 2021, 02:31:42 pm

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March 6, 2021

Maj. David O. Henderson
Dover Senior Squadron
Delaware Wing

David O. Henderson passed away at home January 30, 2021 after a long and courageous battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig's) disease. Dave was born on October 18, 1948 in Conway, S.C. to Donald O. Henderson and Ellen Henderson. Dave's father was in the U.S. Air Force and transferred to Dover in the early 1960's. He attended Caesar Rodney high school, graduating with the class of 1967.
When Dave was 10 years old a family friend introduced him to the world of flight by taking him up in a lightweight 1940's era Piper Cub to experience some "gentle" aerobatics. From that first flight, David knew aviation would not only be his career path, but an integral part of his life.
After high school Dave's formal training started when he joined the U.S. Air Force, serving in Vietnam as an electronics expert crew chief for a variety of aircraft including the AC-130 Gunship, F-4 Phantom and F-105 Wild Weasel. Later he served with the Delaware Army National Guard working on helicopters and in April 1980 took part in Operation Eagle Claw during the Iranian hostage crisis in an attempt to free 52 American embassy personnel.
After returning from Vietnam, Dave earned his private and commercial pilot's license then purchased an 80-acre airport near Felton. He became an FAA certified airframe and engine mechanic, eventually being granted aircraft inspection authorization. His true passion of restoring Piper Cubs was soon realized. His business became a booming enterprise, with over 150 high-quality restorations that extended to customers worldwide.
Dave's craftsmanship caught the attention of Thailand Prince Veerayuth Didyasarin who eventually came to Delaware to meet Dave and purchase one of his restored J-3 Piper Cubs. A strong friendship developed and Dave was frequently invited to Thailand as a guest of the Prince to help develop a civil aviation program there.
Here in Delaware, David single-handedly introduced a bill that was passed into law forbidding any construction in the flight path of any airport that could hinder the safety of aircraft taking off and landing. He was selected by Delaware Today magazine as one of the 50 people to watch in Delaware.
Dave was also a member of the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol for over 45 years, achieving the rank of Major and serving as a search and rescue pilot and incident commander. In recognition of Dave's many achievements in aviation, he was inducted to the Delaware Aviation Hall of Fame in 2018.
Dave earned a master's degree in information technology from Wilmington University and served the city of Rehoboth as IT manager for about 10 years beginning about 2000. In addition, He was also a master gunsmith, firearms collector and an expert in restoring WWII era Norden bombsights.
Dave was preceded in death by his mother, Ellen in 1988; and sister, Nancy in 2011. He is survived by his wife Gail; father, Donald; brother, Robert Henderson and sister-in-law Kelley, of Oklahoma; son, Scott White; and two grandchildren.
Friends who know David Henderson well feel he is undoubtedly in heaven right now checking the airworthiness of other angel's wings.
Greg Putnam, Lt. Col., CAP