Aerial tribute to Pauline and Gary Rudolph |

Aerial tribute to Pauline and Gary Rudolph



Pilot Joe Rainbolt gives a spirited pass while flying in tribute to Gary and Pauline Rudolph at the Nevada County Airport. (Photo Courtesy of Tim O’Brien)
Pilot James Good waves to onlookers while flying in tribute to Gary and Pauline Rudolph at the Nevada County Airport. (Photo Courtesy of Tim O’Brien)

On the morning of June 26, the Golden Empire Flying Association and the Grass Valley chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association staged a memorial tribute to long-time Nevada County aviation enthusiasts Pauline and Gary Rudolph. The couple recently succumbed to injuries received in a tragic motoring accident.

Gary began flying at the age of 15. After he retired from a career as a captain with American Airlines, Pauline and Gary became quite active in all things aviation in Nevada County. He was an accomplished instructor, a master aviator, and a friend and mentor to many people throughout his life.

Golden Empire Flying Association members organized the event with the enthusiastic participation of many local pilots. More than 100 spectators watched from the front of the airport terminal building as airplanes started up, taxied for takeoff and then returned for a low pass down the runway heading west. Owner-built experimental aircraft joined factory airplanes from Beech, Piper, Cessna and Luscombe in a half-hour parade through the skies.

The tribute concluded with two “Missing Man” formations. In this aviation tradition, aircraft in formation pass over the airfield. As they reach the field, one aircraft lifts up and departs the formation, leaving the others to fly on with a gap between the airplanes.

In the first group, Jim Booth piloted a restored World War II U.S. Navy SNJ advanced trainer, leading two RV aircraft flown by Bob Hobert and Bruce McGrew. Three Luscombe aircraft from the Golden Age of aviation piloted by Ray Anderson, Doug Johnson and Juan Browne followed in a second formation.

“No more check rides await, Pauline and Gary,” said friend Al Jones. “Rest in peace, fondly remembered by your friends.”



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