Born August 24, 1936 in Beatrice, West Virginia, Eldon J. Haught grew up harboring an interest in aviation. His love for aviation would come back to serve the flying community in more ways than one. Upon graduating, Haught worked in the oil and gas industry before becoming co-owner of Alfab Inc., among other successful business ventures. His business insight was second to none and leaders throughout the area recognized this by appointing him to numerous boards where he served dutifully.
It was in August 1977 that Haught successfully soloed in a Cessna 152 and in 1978 he became an official certificated private pilot finally fulfilling his lifelong dream. It was not long after in 1982 that Governor Rockefeller appointed Haught to the State Aeronautics Commission. His understanding of aviation, coupled with his keen sense of business, ensured the Commission was able to provide the maximum financial support to the state’s airports for the benefit of the public. Haught was so devoted in his endeavors that the Commission repeatedly elected him Chairman. He ensured meetings were accessible to all airports throughout the state and made them available by rotating the meetings among airports to provide the greatest accessibility as possible. The rotation also allowed the airports to showcase their strengths as well as their needs to the Commissioners firsthand.
One of Haught’s greatest accomplishments while serving on the Commission included obtaining the Fire Fighter Training Simulator for commercial service airports in the state. Simply obtaining the simulator was not enough for Haught. He went a step further and supported the annual cost to maintain the simulator relieving airports of this financial burden. Search and rescue was also of importance to Haught who took a personal interest in ensuring other individual’s safety stemming from a tragedy. In 1964, Haught helped establish the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department—a cause which became dear to him after his son was killed fighting a fire with the fire department. This gave life to a scholarship fund that has helped more than 70 Ritchie County families and guided an outlook that included supporting the state of West Virginia’s funding the Civil Air Patrol.
To list all of Haught’s accomplishments is not possible on one plaque. Notable awards bestowed upon Haught include the 2003 Jefferson Award for Community Service, the 2014 Ritchie County DAR Award for Community Service, and becoming an honorary graduate of the University of Hard Knocks at Alderson Broaddus University in 2008. The State of West Virginia is honored to recognize Eldon Haught’s contributions to aviation and thanks him for his loyal commitment to the furthering of aeronautics.