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butch

Thomas William "Butch" Baine, III

Thomas William "Butch" Baine, III (August 29, 1916July 6, 1974), or "T.W.", was an aviation pioneer. He was born in Villa Ridge, Illinois, on August 29 1916, and moved to Jacksonville, Florida, in the early 1930s. He graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in Jacksonville in 1936, and he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville in the late 1930s.

He acquired the nickname "Butch" from his older sisters, who gave them that as a "pet name" when he was a small child. It stuck throughout his life, although he also went by "T.W." as well.

Butch learned to be an aircraft mechanic and commercial pilot by the great local aviation hero, Laurie Yonge. He flew with National Airlines in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and then flew in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II, ferrying various types of aircraft from the factories in the United States to the front lines in North Africa and Europe. Butch also taught at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the university's founding, he was a CAA (forerunner of the FAA) maintenance inspector, and he owned Baine Aircraft Service at Imeson Municipal Airport in Jacksonville. Butch also owned a large farm on the outskirts of town near Oceanway, called the B&B Ranch, and he had his own private air strip (Baine Airport [FL20], which closed down on November 28, 2005).

Butch was married to Betty Wilson of Jacksonville, and they had four children. All of his sons became pilots and some of his grandchildren became pilots. One grandson is an army aviator in Afghanistan as of 2006. His farm was sold in 2005 by his heirs to a developer.

There is a street in Jacksonville named after him (Butch Baine Drive), and a whole community in north Jacksonville named after him called "Bainebridge."

Quote

"Butch Baine was as safety-minded as any man in aviation. He, Laurie Yonge, and many of the old-timers built aviation in Jacksonville." -- James F. Howard, head of the Jacksonville International Airport, January 15 1976.

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