Died: November 23, 1988
Born in Racine, Wisconsin, Carlyle Godske learned to fly after he returned home from World War I. Working hard and flying often, he became known as "Racine's first pilot." In 1927, he took part in Wisconsin's first American Legion Air Tour and all but single-handedly rescued the event after a fatal accident and the Great Depression forced its cancellation in 1932. Dedicated to promoting airport development throughout the state, the Legion Tour was the largest annual aviation event in Wisconsin in the 1930s and early 1940s.
Godske started his Racine Flying Service at his own landing strip near Sturtevant in 1932 and trained hundreds of pilots from all over the state, including the young Sam Johnson. On the eve of World War II, Godske joined other area businessmen to develop the acreage that became the Racine-Horlick Airport. He used the new field to start a Civilian Pilot Training Program where prepared new pilots for military duty. He served as the Racine Airport manager until 1949.
As World War II was drawing to a close, Wisconsin made plans to accommodate an expanded role for aviation in the postwar years. To chart that future, Governor Walter Goodland appointed a twenty-eight member Special Aviation Advisory Board. The board was chaired by Carlyle Godske. The board recommended that Wisconsin create an Aeronautics Commission with real power, using state resources, to develop and regulate aviation in Wisconsin. The Aeronautics Commission as envisioned by Godske's Advisory Board was created on May 10, 1945, two days after the war ended in Europe.
Godske then turned his efforts to the family business, but retained his life-long dedication to aviation.