Aerospace Leaders Honored at NAA Fall Awards Dinner

Aerospace Leaders Honored at NAA Fall Awards Dinner

NAA hosted its Annual Fall Awards Dinner on November 29, 2017 in Arlington Virginia.

The evening kicked off with a special presentation by the National Aviation Hall of Fame’s (NAHF) Executive Board Member Dr. Kathy Hughes and Executive Director Amy Spowart, who revealed the NAHF Class of 2018 Inductees for the first time.

The NAHF Class of 2018 is a diverse group representing a broad range of enduring contributions to both the advancement of flight and the manned exploration of space:

Colonel Walter Cunningham, USMCR (Ret) is a decorated Korean War veteran, fighter pilot, physicist, Apollo 7 Lunar Module Pilot and SKYLAB Chief.

General John R. (Jack) Dailey, USMC (Ret) is a decorated Vietnam veteran, Former Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, Chief of Staff, Former Deputy Administrator of NASA and the acting Director of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

(The late) William H. (Bill) Dana was a 40 year veteran of NASA, test pilot and aeronautical engineer. He was also the project pilot for the X-15 and pilot astronaut for the X-20, among several other aircraft.

General Ronald R. Fogleman, USAF (Ret) is a United States Air Force Academy graduate, decorated Vietnam veteran (logging 80 missions as a Misty), Command Pilot and Parachutist, 15th Chief of Staff of the Air Force and author of the Air Force Core Values.

The NAHF Class of 2018 Inductees will be enshrined later this year at the Annual Enshrinement Dinner & Ceremony. For more information, please click here .

Next, Rol Murrow, Founder of the Air Care Alliance, presented the Public Benefit Flying Awards.

NAA and the Air Care Alliance created the Public Benefit Flying Awards to recognize the significant contributions to the Nation of volunteer-based Public Benefit Flying and the outstanding work of the individuals and organizations engaged in this humanitarian activity. The four award recipients of the Public Benefit Flying Awards were:

Distinguished Volunteer Pilot: John Billings for generously donating his time, the use of his aircraft, and fuel costs to fly 380 patient flights in 12 years on behalf of Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic.

Distinguished Volunteer: Maj. Aaron Jones, Capt. Eric Johnson, and SSgt Johnnie Blount for their dedication and commitment to planning the Legacy Flight Academy’s “Eyes Above the Horizon” event in 2017.

Outstanding Achievement in the Advancement of Public Benefit Flying: Civil Air Patrol for its exemplary organization in support of public benefit flying thought its “shadow escort” flights for the Air National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing.

Teamwork Award: In the Fall of 2017, several national disasters, including hurricanes and wildfires, devastated enormous areas of South Texas, Florida and the Gulf region, the islands of the
Caribbean, and Northern California. Within days and over the succeeding weeks, hundreds of volunteers from public benefit flying and other groups created a large relief effort providing rescue and critical aid to communities large and small throughout the affected regions.

Following the Public Benefit of Flying Awards, NAA Board Member and former President of the Ninety-Nines, Pat Prentiss presented the Katharine Wright Trophy.

The Katharine Wright Trophy is awarded annually to an individual “… who has contributed to the success of others, or made a personal contribution to the advancement of the art, sport, and science of aviation and space flight over an extended period of time.”

The 2017 Katharine Wright Trophy was awarded to Maj. Chrystina Jones for her commitment to encouraging women across the globe to pursue and succeed in aviation careers.

Unfortunately, Maj. Jones was unable to attend the Fall Awards Dinner. General Stephen Wilson, Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, accepted the award on her behalf.

Next, NAA’s Director of Contest & Records, Art Greenfield presented the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) Aeromodelling Gold Medal.

The Aeromodelling Gold Medal was established by FAI in 1987 and is awarded annually “… to an aeromodeller of an FAI Member of outstanding merit in organization activities.”

The 2017 medal was awarded to Bob Brown for his outstanding contributions to FAI Aeromodelling World events and his eminent services to the FAI Aeromodelling Commission.

The next award presented was the Frank G. Brewer Trophy. The Brewer Trophy is awarded annually “… to an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization for significant contributions of enduring value to aerospace education in the United States.”

Bob Brown, past President of the Academy of Model Aeronautics, which received the 2010 Brewer Trophy, helped to present the award to Dr. John Anderson Jr. Dr. Anderson was awarded the Brewer Trophy for his sustained international leadership in aerospace engineering education demonstrated by his authorship of an array of widely-read undergraduate and graduate textbooks with clear, engaging, and superior technical content and historical context.

The Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award was established in 1954 to honor outstanding Americans, who, by their efforts over a period of years, have made contributions of significant value to aeronautics and have reflected credit upon America and themselves.

NAA added six remarkable individuals to our list of Statesman at the Fall Awards Dinner:

Stephen Alterman for dedicating 42 years to advancing the interests of the all-cargo air carrier industry through his commitment to policymaking and remarkable foresight of the industry.

Ali Bahrami for his leadership, commitment, and collaborative work throughout his career, which has helped to advance the safety of global civil aviation by validating new commercial aircraft systems and promoting international cooperation on aviation safety issues.

Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden for his exemplary leadership, vision, and dedication to promoting the importance of human flight, discovery, and understanding of our planet, all of which advance the quality of life around the globe.

Jeff Hamiel for devoting over 40 years of service at the Metropolitan Airports Commission, where he navigated a complex and difficult terrain at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport and six general aviation airports.

Jack Pelton for his extensive and renowned career in aviation, which includes serving as the current Chairman and CEO of the Experimental Aircraft Association and past Chairman and CEO of Cessna Aircraft Co.

Phil Woodruff for his significant contributions to aviation throughout his career as Director of Education for the Federal Aviation Administration, where his leadership strengthened partnerships among government, industry, and education.

The last award presentation of the evening was the Mackay Trophy. The Mackay Trophy was established by NAA in 1912 and is awarded “… for the most meritorious U.S. Air Force flight in the previous year; also for gallantry, intrepidity, initiative, resourcefulness, and achievement of outstanding results in combat or non-combat conditions.”

General Stephen Wilson, Vice Chief of Staff, United States Air Force and Lieutenant General Stephen Wood presented the trophy to the Crew of Spooky 43 Flight.

As outlined in the United States Air Force nomination, the crew of SPOOKY 43 distinguished itself while participating in sustained aerial flight as an AC-130U Gunship Aircrew, 4th Expeditionary Special Operations Squadron, Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component – Afghanistan, in support of Operation FREEDOM’s SENTINEL.

On November 2, 2016, the crew of SPOOKY 43 was tasked to provide close air support and armed reconnaissance for a 55-man combined American and Afghan special operations team conducting a raid to interdict insurgent command and control nodes, senior leadership, and their networks. After the crew of SPOOKY 43 arrived overhead, the combined American and Afghan special operations force (also referred to as “friendlies”) was caught in a deadly ambush by a large insurgent force. The friendlies were engaged by small arms, heavy machine gun, and grenade fire from multiple defensive fighting positions. The crew of SPOOKY 43 provided close air support to the friendly ground force with the 25, 40, and 105-millimeter guns, to allow the them the freedom to maneuver and provide care for casualties. In order to protect the ground team from enemy personnel, the crew of SPOOKY 43 expertly employed the 105-millimeter gun at an unprecedented 12 meters from the friendly personnel. Due to the outstanding airmanship and bravery under extremely challenging circumstances, SPOOKY 43 destroyed 10 defensive fighting positions, 27 enemy insurgents, and three enemy technical vehicles, saving the lives of 50 combined American and Afghan special operations forces personnel who would have otherwise perished in the enemy ambush. The professional ability and outstanding aerial accomplishments of the crew of SPOOKY 43 reflect credit upon themselves and the United States Air Force.

Congratulations to all of the recipients and honorees who accepted their awards at the Fall Awards Dinner!