Richard A. Henson


Richard A. Henson, founder of Henson Aviation, endowed the School of Science in 1988 creating the Richard A. Henson School of Science and Technology. An avid pilot, he founded Henson Flying Service in his hometown of Hagerstown, MD in 1931 when he was only 21 years old. During World War II he was a test pilot for Fairchild Industries in Hagerstown, then developing and manufacturing training and fighting planes for our nation’s wartime flyers. After the war he turned his ideas and expertise as a flyer toward civil aviation and in 1967 started the first commuter service for Allegheny Airlines connecting Hagerstown to Baltimore and Washington, D.C. In 1981 he moved his corporate headquarters to Salisbury describing this as “the model commuter city in the United States.” After a period of phenomenal growth, Dick Henson sold the airline to Piedmont Aviation Inc. in 1983, which in turn was bought out by USAir in 1987. In 1990, he established the Richard A. Henson Foundation which has given substantial financial gifts to local institutions including the YMCA, Boy Scouts of America, Peninsula Regional Medical Center and the Greater Salisbury Committee as well as Salisbury University. He remained an active pilot in command of his personal jet until he was 90.  Mr. Henson died at age 92 on June 12, 2002, but through the Henson Foundation, his legacy and philanthropic endeavors will long continue. 



Portrait painted by James Adams