Aviation pioneer Skuldt, ex-director of Dane County airport, dies at 93

  • Published
  • By Rob Schultz
  • Wisconsin State Journal
Bob Skuldt, a Madison aviation pioneer who helped form the Wisconsin Air National Guard and was the director of what is now the Dane County Regional Airport for 35 years, died Monday. He was 93.

"Whether it was military aviation, general aviation or the National Guard or the air carriers, he was always an integral part of that," current airport director Brad Livingston said of Skuldt.

Skuldt got the aviation bug at age 10 when he watched Charles Lindbergh land his plane at Madison's Royal Airport, now the site of South Towne Mall, he told the State Journal in 2006, when he was inducted into the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.

He bought his first plane in 1940 with the help of a $550 loan financed by an aunt and his future wife, Letty. "He never repaid the loan, which was a private joke between the two of them," said Jim Bartelt, a friend and neighbor.

Skuldt ferried bombers from the United States to North Africa and Italy at the start of World War II and then flew more than 70 missions for the Army Air Corps in C-54s delivering fuel from India "over the hump" -- across the Himalayas -- to China.

After the war, Skuldt was a founding officer of the Wisconsin Air National Guard and, in 1946, became the first postwar civilian director of the Madison city airport. He returned to active duty for 21 months during the Korean War.

Skuldt was the pilot for several Wisconsin governors and other state officials around the country. He logged 7,300 flying hours in 50 types of civilian and military aircraft.

Later on, Skuldt was a Dane County Board member and an airport commission chair. A conference room at the airport is named after him. He also was a consultant to the president of Republic Airlines.

"There was so much history he was involved with in the community," Livingston said.

He is survived by his wife and a son, Gregory.

His obituary is found here.

Original content found here.