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April 21, 2009

The Legacy of Stan Shannon

Stan Shannon is among those unique individuals that has shaped aviation in the Lone Star State. A native born Texan, Stan has contributed to the promotion and preservation of general aviation throughout this state. Here then is a tribute to the legacy of an outstanding aviation advocate.

B. Stanley (Stan) Shannon, Jr. was born on February 11, 1939 in Paris, Texas. In January 1961 he married Nanette Odom of Jacksonville, Texas. Their son Clark Lamar was born at the end of the year and daughter Stacy Rodgers come along in 1963. Clark is married with one child and is an economic analyst in McLean, Virginia. Stacy is married with three children and is a homemaker in Fredericksburg.

Stan attended college at Southern Methodist University and graduated in 1961 with a Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science degree in Math/Statistics in 1963. Currently, he is a rancher and airplane builder /restorer and lives on his ranch (complete with private airstrip) just outside of Fredericksburg.

Stan Shannon’s professional background is impressive.....


Stan Shannon
photo credit:  David Baker

• President of Rondure Company from 1974 to the present
• Chairman of the Board Treasurer & President of Alpha Systems, Inc. located in Dallas from 1970 to 1974
• Vice President, General Manger & Treasurer of Telpar, Inc. in Dallas from 1969 to 1970
• Consultant at Consulting Associates, Inc. of Dallas in 1969
• Independent Consultant in areas of computing, finance, statistics from 1964 until 1969
• Controller at Wadley Institutes of Molecular Medicine of Dallas from 1967 until 1969
• Assistant Professor at the Graduate Research Institute of Baylor University in Dallas from 1963 until 1969
• Director of the Goddard Computer Science Institute and the Wadley Institutes of Molecular Medicine in Dallas from 1963 until 1969
• Lecturer at the Department of Mathematical and Experimental Statistics – Southern Methodist University in Dallas from 1963 until 1964
• Research Fellowship National Institutes of Health – Department of mathematical and experimental statistics at SMU from 1962 until 1963
• Graduate Assistant in the Department of mathematical and experimental statistics at SMU 1961-1962
• Engineering Research Assistant at Southwestern Medical School in Dallas from 1960 – 1961
• Research assistant at Socony Mobil Field Research Laboratories in Duncanville from 1960-1961
• Electrical Engineer Technician at Dallas Power and Light Company from 1958-1959

Stan has always been interested in aviation since he was a child but did not become involved in flying until age 40. At 40, Stan was diagnosed with lung cancer and given three weeks to live. Fortunately he found the best surgeon available in Dallas; the surgeon removed the cancer and Stan was given a new lease on life.

Immediately after his bout with cancer, Stan started taking flying lessons at Love Field in Dallas. He said he wanted to learn to fly in a high traffic environment. “I was the last private pilot student to solo from that airport. It took a special sign off by the tower chief,” Stan said. Afterwards, student training was restricted at DAL.


Stan soon released his desire to build and restore aircraft. When the Vans RV 6 became available, Stan was one of the first builders.


Giving introductory flights to kids is a particular joy for Stan. He says that he has lost track as to how many free flights he has given but it is in the hundreds. When asked if he ever found one that didn’t like the ride he replied, “No. Every one enjoyed flying.”

He is a technical counselor for the Experimental Aircraft Association. He has assisted approximately 60-70 individuals in building their personal aircraft. Stan has owned 30 aircraft at one time or another. He restored a Super Cub in the late ‘80s while living in Dallas. About 20 years ago he moved his family to the Hill Country of Texas. Since then he has built three Vans RV aircraft including a RV-6, a RV-9 and a RV-9A. The RV-9 was listed as serial number one.

photo credit:  David Baker    

One aircraft that stands out in Stan’s memory is one called a Murphy Rebel that he built with Tony Bingelis. Unfortunately, Tony passed away before completion and Stan ended up selling the project. “Tony and I were good friends. He lived in Austin and wrote the book on homebuilding.” Tony was a manager in the Texas Aeronautics Commission, the predecessor of TxDOT Aviation.”

For ten years, Stan led the EAA’s Southwest Regional Fly In. That famous fly in had several venues starting in Kerrville, moving to Abilene for several years, then to New Braunfels for two years and then to Hondo. Because of insurance requirements, SWRFI was discontinued. However, funds left over from past donations were rolled over into what became the Tony Bingelis Scholarship Fund which sponsors youth interested in aviation.

“The scholarships are open to two major categories,” Stan said. “High school students that want to pursue a career in aviation are given up to two thousand dollars. This money is paid to an accredited flight school. This will basically get them through the solo stage. Once they have soloed, they are usually motivated enough to go ahead and finish basic training to obtain their private pilot’s certificate. For college students, we consider individuals that already have a scholarship. We’ll help them with the same amount of money to help with either flight training or perhaps books.”

EAA and the media publish information about the Tony Bingelis Scholarship Fund.

Stan is currently actively involved in the upcoming Light Sport Aircraft. He is presently building a Bush Caddy R-80. “The Bush Caddy R-80 is a two place LSA. It is an all metal high wing tail dragger. It looks like a shrunk down 180 Cessna. It has the square tail and pretty long wings for plane that size. All projects to date have had a Rotax engine but I wanted something different, so I’m putting a 120 HP Jabaru in mine.” Light Sport Aviation is a boom to aviation in Stan’s opinion.

Stan is a long standing member of the Texas Aviation Association. He appreciates that TXAA co-sponsors the Texas Aviation Conference and hosts the Texas General Aviation Summit. He suggests expanding both events to include more participants.

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