Walter McFadden wearing glasses and a white hat

Walter Jones McFadden Jr.

The trustee emeritus passed away on Jan. 20, 2021, at the age of 96

Trustee Emeritus Walter Jones McFadden Jr., 96, served on the university’s board of trustees from 1971 to 1976. A service pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps, McFadden started two companies: Southern Air Surveys Inc. and Mapco Inc., both based in Florida and both of which conducted the aviation portion of aerial survey contracts for projects throughout the U.S. and the Bahamas. In 1972, he sold both companies, then started another company, Airborne Data Inc., which specialized in forest management photogrammetric programs and was sold in 2004. A World War II veteran who flew North American P51Ds, he received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award in 2014 from the Federal Aviation Administration, honoring his 50-plus years of flight expertise.

McFadden’s passion was in the area of photogrammetry, and he made a gift to the university to set up the Merton M. Minter Jr. Memorial Lecture Series on the topic, in honor of Minter, who was his good friend.

“I had the honor of meeting Walter McFadden, who remained a supporter and good friend of the university,” says Embry-Riddle President P. Barry Butler. “A lifelong passion for flight took him from the U.S. Army Air Corps to successful aviation entrepreneurship. His conviction that aviation could deliver critical data led him to launch his third successful business, focused on photogrammetry, even after he retired. We are proud to have benefitted from his vision as a trustee, which was always forward-looking and expansive.”