Clay Lacy is a native of Wichita , Kansas , and a graduate of Wichita East High School . He started flying at the age of twelve at Orville Sanders Cannonball Airport , located at Tyler Road and Maple
In January 1952, he left Wichita to join United Airlines as a copilot on DC-3 aircraft. In January 1954, Clay took military leave from United Airlines to attend Air Force Pilot Training. After completing F-86 Gunnery School in August 1955, he returned to United Airlines and continued flying military fighters and other aircraft with the California Air National Guard.
One of the first pilots to receive a Learjet Type Rating in November 1964, Clay was the Manager of Learjet Sales for California Airmotive, the Learjet distributor in the seven Western States.
He placed first in the 1970 Reno Unlimited Pylon Race to become the 1970 National Champion In 1971, he placed first in the last propeller unlimited cross-country race held. He followed that by winning first place in the Fighter Pilot Tournament held in St. Louis , and also placed first in the Jet Class of "The Great Race" from London , England to Victoria , British Columbia the same year flying a Learjet 24. Clay flew in every Unlimited Race from Reno 64 through Reno 72, also two LA races, Lancaster and 1970 Cape May , New Jersey . In addition, Clay flew in two Mojave Races; one in a four engine DC-7, placing 5 th in a field of 20 P-51s, Sea Fury's and others
With his exclusive Astrovision equipped Learjet's, Clay does almost every airline commercial filmed, most Hollywood aerial filming, and much of the photo work for the aircraft industry and military.
As a member of the Screen Actors Guild and Directors Guild of America , Clay has participated in dozens of movies. He faked a gear-up landing of a Learjet for the movie, "Capricorn One" and landed a DC-3 (for real!) gear-up for the movie, "The Island".
With over 50,000 hours as a pilot, Clay holds an Airline Transport License with thirty (30) type ratings, helicopter, seaplane, flight instructor, and engineer. He retired Seniority Number One from United Airlines on August 31, 1992 after 40 years and 7 months. At the time of his retirement, Clay was flying Boeing 747-400 from Los Angeles to the Orient.
On January 28, 1998, Clay flew a Boeing 747SP around the world, establishing a New Around the World Speed Record, and in doing so, raised over $500,000 for children's charities.
In addition, Clay has done test flying, making first flights on the original Pregnant Guppy, the STOLIFTER, the GENIE, and the TRI TURBO-DC-3.
Clay is the owner and President of Clay Lacy Aviation, founded in 1968, at Van Nuys Airport, which is a Full Jet Service FBO (fixed base operator). Clay Lacy Aviation operates a FAR 135 Air Taxi Charter with a fleet of 45 Jets from Lear, Gulfstreams and BBJ.
The man who once said, I have seldom met an airplane I didn't like", was singled out by Professional Pilot magazine as the ideal person to evaluate the latest and the best contributions by the Aviation Industry. Professional Pilot engaged Clay as an experienced advocate for both pilots and operators, and arranged to have him flight check and editorialize about the many new aircraft in this exciting marketplace. Clay began writing his editorials and commentary for Professional Pilot in May of 1997, and after dozens of byline articles was repeatedly voted the most popular writer, year after year.
With over 50,000 hours of flying time in over 200 different aircraft, 30 type ratings on his ATP, Helicopter, Sea Plane, Flight Instructor, and Flight Engineer ratings, Clay is known to his friends as the "Flyingest Pilot Ever!"