April 14, 2021 Newsbite

Dear NAA Members and Friends,

NAA and the National Aviation Hall of Fame are pleased to announce our upcoming webinar, Social Media: Launching the Future of Aviation, on April 22 at 2:00 p.m. ET. The story of aviation is increasingly told and learned through social media; and the industry has had to adjust to the speed and culture created by these interactive platforms. Join us and our expert panelists Benét Wilson, The Points Guy; Ashley Iaccarino, Communications Manager, Tampa International Airport; Emily Carney, Founder, Space Hipsters; and Courtland Savage, Founder & CEO, to examine the benefits and challenges of social networking.

On April 5, NAA announced that the Tuskegee Airmen will receive the Clifford Henderson Trophy for 2021. The Henderson Trophy, which is in the collection of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, is awarded to “…a living individual, group of individuals, or an organization whose vision, leadership or skill made a significant and lasting contribution to the promotion and advancement of aviation and aerospace in the United States.” The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps (the predecessor to the modern-day U.S. Air Force). In 1941, with the start of World War II imminent, it was decided to offer training to African Americans as pilots, mechanics, and support staff. The new air base in Tuskegee, Alabama, became the center of the training program for over 14,000 black air personnel. First with the 99th Fighter Squadron and later with the 332nd Fighter Group, the Tuskegee Airmen made significant contributions to the war effort, serving in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. Collectively, the airmen flew over 15,000 individual sorties throughout the war, earning 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and encouraging the eventual integration of the U.S. armed forces in 1948. NAA looks forward to presenting the Henderson Trophy to the Tuskegee Airmen when health and safety protocols allow.

The nomination period for the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) awards is now open. FAI presents dozens of medals and diplomas annually to recognize international accomplishments in aviation and space. As the United States representative to FAI, NAA works to identify worthy candidates and generate nominations for the following FAI Awards: Gold Air Medal, Gold Space Medal, Sabiha Gokcen Medal, Silver Medal, Diploma for Outstanding Airmanship, Paul Tissandier Diploma, and the Group Diploma of Honour. Nominations should be submitted directly to NAA by April 30.

Throughout the past few months, the nation has been riveted with the journey of NASA’s Perseverance rover, which landed on Mars on February 18, 2021. Part of this historic mission is the first attempt at powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet, which will be demonstrated by the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) member, Matt Keennon, helped to design, test, and build the 4-pound Ingenuity helicopter, which is set to embark on its first flight on the red planet in a matter of days. Read more about Keennon’s role in this history-making flight in his interview on the AMA blog.

The Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque Balloon Museum, home of the FAI CIA (Ballooning Commission) Hall of Fame, has announced that Wilhelm Eimers of Germany and Jim Winker of the USA will be this year’s inductees. Wilhelm (Willi) Eimers has flown more than 1,400 gas balloon flights since he received his license in 1979. Eimers is best known as a Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett pilot. He has participated in the event 27 times throughout the course of his career, winning the event four times, and placing second on nine occasions. Jim Winker’s contributions to ballooning are great. He participated in the preparation, inflation, free flight, and recovery of the first modern hot air balloon flight by inventor Ed Yost in 1960. Winker has held over a dozen patents for scientific balloons, parachutes, and hot air balloons and was instrumental in supervising the process for gaining type certification for hot air balloons in the US. The 2021 induction ceremony is scheduled to take place at the Balloon Museum this October before the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta commences, the planning for which is underway and will be held as long as COVID protocols allow.

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