Building up the Lambert museum, Community Fly Days canceled

Published 8:07 am Saturday, August 15, 2020

If you live in Ironton or the vicinity you surely know about Bill Lambert, a fighter pilot in WWI.

He was an American citizen who journeyed to Canada where he learned to fly airplanes. He went on to join the Royal Flying Corps, which evolved into the RAF.

He trained in England and came to love the plane known as the S.E. 5a. It was in this plane that he shot down 22 enemy aircraft.

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This is second to Eddie Rickenbacker who downed 26 enemy aircraft. Incidentally, Eddie was born in Ohio. Bill Lambert really has not been recognized throughout the country like Eddie Rickenbacker. A committee was formed a year or so ago with Joe Unger “carrying the ball.”

I am a member of the committee, but have not been very active, but there are two members who have started the ball rolling.
They are Bill Martin who was instrumental in establishing the Highland Museum and Discovery Center in Ashland, Kentucky, and Brent Plyles, of Ironton, who is the committee chairman.

They have found a safe place where some of Bill Lambert’s memorabilia can be displayed. They have also found where they can procure some display cases.

With the generosity of the city of Ironton, they have been offered a safe place to have these display cases for the public to visit and learn more about this famous citizen of Ironton.

It is in the lobby of the Ironton City Building on Third Street, just across from Unger Shoes, which is appropriate, since Joe was one of the founders of the original committee. As I understand the goal, it is not only to honor Bill Lambert, but also others in the Tri-State area who were involved in WWI and also flyers and war veterans.

Another WWI fighter pilot is Howard Mayes Sr. who was shot down when set upon by several German fighters when he was on an observation flight over enemy lines. He survived and came back to be the manager of the Lawrence County Airport for about 10 years in the 1930s.

Now some news about the Tri-State Pilot Association, as you might have guessed, the Community Fly Days have been canceled.

We usually have one in the spring and one in the fall. The proceeds from these efforts provide part of the funds that are used to buy fuel to run the lawnmowers and maintain the equipment.

The Lawrence County airport is self-funded and does not use Lawrence County taxpayer’s tax money to take care of the maintenance expenses at the airport.

We depend on volunteers to drive the lawnmowers and whatever funds that are derived from hangar rent, member’s dues and donations.

With help of Dave Fenney and Dan Pelfrey, there is a deck in front of the trailer, which will be the future office for the Lawrence County Airport. Now they need a ramp and steps to access the trailer deck.

If you have some time, I am sure that Dan would be appreciative of any help to continue to rehab the trailer. Call the airport and leave a message.

Don Lee, a pilot flying out of Lawrence County Airport since 1970, has been in charge of equipment and grounds maintenance for the last several years. He can be reached at