June 23, 2021 Newsbite

Dear NAA Members and Friends,

On June 15, NAA announced that United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Joel W. Bier and Lieutenant Colonel Leif C. Nordhagen, the aircrew of Hawg 53 flight, were named as the recipients of the 2020 Mackay Trophy. The Mackay Trophy was first presented by Clarence Mackay in 1912 and was later deeded to the NAA. Administered by the United States Air Force and NAA, the trophy is awarded for “…the most meritorious flight of the year by an Air Force person, persons, or organization.” As outlined in the United States Air Force nomination, the crew of Hawg 53 were deployed from their home station of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, as a two-ship formation of A10Cs, assigned to the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, 451st Air Expeditionary Group, Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. On January 5, 2020, Lieutenant Colonel Bier and Lieutenant Colonel Nordhagen were tasked to support a troops in contact situation where the Afghan Combat Outpost was under heavy attack from Taliban forces. As the only airborne response available in Afghanistan, Hawg 53 battled significant weather, mountainous terrain, dislocated controllers, and a determined enemy to halt the attack and save the outpost from being overrun, ultimately saving the lives of 30 Afghan soldiers. NAA looks forward to presenting Lieutenant Colonel Bier and Lieutenant Colonel Nordhagen with the Mackay Trophy on a future date to be determined.

The winners of the 2021 International Young Artist Contest have been announced by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). FAI sponsors the annual contest to inspire youth to reflect on the importance of aviation, and express their ideas through art. Contest submissions are grouped into three separate age categories for judging, allowing students ranging from 6-17 years old to compete. The 2021 theme, “A Friendlier World with Air Sports,” encouraged students to create artwork that captures a friendlier world that comes from people meeting and sharing their love of sport aviation. Three U.S. students have been selected as winners in this year’s contest:

Intermediate Category – 2nd Place: Anish Upadhyaya (Age 13, North Carolina)

Senior Category – 1st Place: Amy Lee (Age 17, North Carolina)

Senior Category – 2nd Place: Isabel Chang (Age 15, North Carolina)

Upadhyaya, Lee, and Chang are part of the nine youth artists who placed nationally in the U.S. contest, which is coordinated annually by the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) and NAA. Congratulations to the 2021 U.S. National and International winners!

In September 2019, the U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA), an NAA air sport member, secured a $120,000 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Adaptive Sports grant. The grant was renewed for a second year in 2020 with increased funding ($145,000) to expand the program. Funding provides introductory tandem flights and training for military members who qualify for disability benefits, both active duty and veterans. The grant offers hang gliding and paragliding training for free for qualified participants up to the H2/P2 (novice) level. This level of proficiency allows pilots to fly on their own at H2/P2-rated sites as they work toward more advanced ratings. USHPA is thrilled to give veterans increased opportunities to experience free flight and become part of the pilot community. The 2021 grant covers training from October 1, 2020 until September 30, 2021. Additional information about the program is available on the USHPA website.

Join the Aero Club of Washington for a free, virtual luncheon on June 28, “Cultivating a Strong, Safe, and Diverse Airline Pilot Workforce”, featuring Captain Joe DePete, President of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). Capt. DePete has emerged as a leading voice in the airline industry in matters of safety, security, and the future of the profession. Bringing the unique perspective of airline pilots, Capt. DePete deftly evolves discussion beyond identifying challenges to defining real solutions. By using personal experiences, current events, and real-life stories to stress the importance of dignity of work and collaboration within the industry, he is recognized for bridging the gap between industries that do not often find themselves on the same side of issues.

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