The family and friends of William H. Kibbie, one of the best known pilots in the Mountain West, have raised more than $35,000 in their goal of a $100,000 memorial scholarship in his name.

The William H. Kibbie Aviation Scholarship Endowment Fund will strengthen Utah State University's new professional pilot training program.When Kibbie died in an automobile accident last February, John Bone, who had flown for Kibbie's company; Dewey Gerrard, chief flight instructor for Delta Airlines western region; and Paul Leddy, a former Kibbie pilot now with Delta; met with other friends and decided to honor Kibbie's memory by establishing a scholarship fund for professional pilot training.

Tying the fund to aviation training was appropriate since Kibbie was one of the pioneer users of aviation in his contracting and construction business in the United States and Canada, friends said.

In World War II, he was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army Air Corps and flew B-24 Liberator bombers in Europe. In 1945, he and his crew were shot down, walked to safety and were soon flying again.

After the war, Kibbie used airplanes in electrical transmission line construction and maintenance for easier, faster and less expensive power line patrol, now a common practice.

His company, Jelco, became one of the biggest electrical contracting companies in the United States. Kibbie was active in flying throughout his career, served on the Salt Lake City International Airport Authority Board and has the new executive terminal at the airport named after him.