Lt. Colonel Haywood Renick Faison, 89, founder of Palmetto Air Service, Mt. Pleasant, died Friday, February 23 after a short illness. Born in Wilmington, NC, April 20, 1917, he was the eldest child of Lucy Wickham Faison and Haywood R. Faison. His fascination with flight made itself known early and he had his first airplane ride at the age of five. Col. Faison soloed a Piper J-2 Cub in July 1936 and continued his flight training with the legendary Bevo Howard while a student at the Citadel. After graduating from The Citadel in 1939, Faison joined the US Army Air Corps. He flew as a pilot for the army’s navigation training school before becoming an aircraft commander and flight leader flying more than 30 combat missions in B-29s from Saipan. Faison’s subsequent Air Force flight career spanned aircraft from biplanes to jets, and included both combat and support missions across the globe. Col. Faison retired from the Air Force in 1968 after a 28 year career, earned his civilian flight instructor’s rating, and returned to South Carolina to found Palmetto Air Service, which is now the oldest continuously operating flying organization in the Lowcountry. He operated the airport on the Isle of Palms and was the first operator at the Mt. Pleasant Regional Airport. Faison trained countless pilots, many of whom have gone on to distinguished flying careers of their own. Col. Faison was inducted into the South Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame in 2000. The following year, the Town of Mt. Pleasant and the Charleston County Aviation Authority named the access road to the Mt. Pleasant Regional Airport for him. The FAA honored Faison with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, the first in South Carolina, in 2005. His record speaks for itself, with more than 40,000 flight hours and more than 70 years of safe flying. He is survived by his sons Robert H. Faison, John S. Faison, Francis M. Faison, and Haywood R. Faison III. Col. Faison’s wife, the former Myrtle Minott of Charleston, died in 2000. Funeral services will be Friday, March 2 at 11:00 a.m. in the Summerall Chapel, The Citadel. Burial will follow in Beaufort National Cemetery, SC. Memorials in lieu of flowers can be made to the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick MD 21701; the Citadel Foundation, 171 Moultrie Street, Charleston SC 29409; or the St. Frances Humane Society, 125 Ridge Road, Georgetown SC 29440. Visit our guestbook at www.charleston.net/deaths. Published in the Charleston Post & Courier on 2/27/2007.
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