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Mission Statement

TIGHAR (pronounced “tiger”) is the acronym for The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, a non-profit foundation dedicated to promoting responsible aviation archaeology and historic preservation. TIGHAR’s activities include:

  • Compiling and verifying reports of rare and historic aircraft surviving in remote areas.
  • Conducting investigations and recovery expeditions in co-operation with museums and collections worldwide.
  • Serving as a voice for integrity, responsibility, and professionalism in the field of aviation historic preservation.

TIGHAR maintains no collection of its own, nor does it engage in the restoration or buying and selling of artifacts. The foundation devotes its resources to the saving of endangered historic aircraft wherever they may be found, and to the education of the international public in the need to preserve the relics of the history of flight.

Board of Directors

William Carter, Boise, Idaho
Richard E. Gillespie, Oxford, Pennsylvania 
Ernie LeRoy, Evergreen, Colorado 
Andrew M. McKenna, Boulder, Colorado
Mark Smith, Jersey City, New Jersey
Patricia R. Thrasher, Oxford, Pennsylvania

Executive Director Richard E. Gillespie
Born: 1947
Education: B.A. History, 1969, State University of New York, Oswego
Military: 1970–1973, United States Army officer, 1st Cavalry Div.
Aviation: Commercial Certificate with Instrument and Multi-Engine Ratings
1973–1984: Aviation accident investigator and risk manager for the aviation insurance industry.
January 1985: Founded The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery.
January 1985 to present: Executive Director of TIGHAR. Research management, fundraising, media relations, and principal author of the foundation’s newsletter/journal TIGHAR Tracks.


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Contact us at: info@tighar.org  •   Phone: 610.467.1937   •   JOIN NOW