Born June 5, 1884, Santa Ana, California; Died July 15, 1913, Chico, California
Inspired by accounts of the first public flights of Wilber and Orville Wright, Chico resident Thaddeus Kerns constructed and flew a hang glider of his own construction at the age of sixteen years old. In 1910, he built and flew an airplane patterned after the Curtis Model D, then he traveled from Chico to San Francisco to participate as a amateur in the famous 1911 Tanforan Air Meet.
Kern perished at the controls of the airplane he was testing within sight of his family home in Chico, at the age of nineteen.
He is honored as Chico's first aviator. Thaddeus Kerns exemplified the courage, adventurousness and perseverance of the pioneers who helped make the dream of flight a reality for everyone.
Sculpture of Thaddeus Kerns with 1910 Glider. Designed and constructed by John Chauncey Roll. Emplaced in 1998.
Renovated by Eagle Scout candidate Conor McCann from Boy Scout Troop 42, Pacific Skyline Council, Boy Scouts of America. Rededicated September 21st 2013.