President’s Message

I hope all of you have had a good summer and are ready for any end of the year challenges. If you live in places impacted by storms or other natural disasters, all of us here at NAA hope you came through in good shape and are soon ready to resume life as normal. And if any of us here at NAA can help, please let us know.

Though our last big event was the Collier Dinner, and our next will be our Fall Awards Dinner, followed by presentation of the Wright Memorial Trophy to Air & Space Museum Director Gen. Jack Dailey at the Aero Club of Washington’s Wright Memorial Dinner on December 15th, summer has been a busy time here. While we are best known for the awards, events and records work we do, all of this is only possible if our “house” is in good order. So we have spent much time updating bylaws, policies and procedures, and also conducting an audit. While we have found that everything is in solid working order, the management of associations, even small ones like ours, has experienced a sea change in recent years. I want to assure all of our members that everything we do is being done at the highest level of competence, and according to current best practice. We will always work to ensure that your membership dollars are being spent in a way that more than justifies your confidence in us.

As part of the audit, I had to spend some time going through our files, especially regarding those funds that support certain of our awards. In so doing, I was even further exposed to the wonderful history of NAA. I wish all of you could have the experience I have had, to be able to read documents and letters from our forbearers and to get a sense of their hopes and dreams. I like to think they would be proud of what we do.

In just the last week we selected recipients of two of our awards. The Katharine Wright Trophy will be going to Major Chrystina Jones. David McCullough, when talking about his best selling book, The Wright Brothers, always talks extensively about the many contributions Katharine Wright made to her brothers’ work, not just the invention of the airplane, but also in ensuring its acceptance. Mr. McCullough was very excited to know that we have an award named after Katharine Wright when I told him last year, and I think he would be absolutely delighted at our selection of Major Jones. Though still young, Major Jones has accomplished so much on her own, while continually striving to help those around her also achieve great things.

As mentioned earlier, the Wright Brothers Trophy is going to Gen. Jack Dailey, the Director of the National Air and Space Museum. Jack has contributed so much to our industry, and to his country, over his many decades of service. As a Marine Aviator, he rose to Vice Commandant of the Marine Corps, serving with great distinction all along the way and playing a key role in the air campaign in Desert Storm. As Deputy Director of NASA, he helped guide that agency through very difficult years. And as Director of the National Air and Space Museum since 2000, he has led that organization to great heights, improving an already great museum, and overseeing the addition of the Udvar Hazy Center. A lot of people would have taken that job and rested on the museum’s already substantial laurels. Jack took that national treasure and developed it into something even greater. His work will educate and inspire people for centuries to come.

As you can see, these two awards have been given to two very different people. A young woman, and a man with six decades of service behind him. They show the greatness of our industry, and also show that greatness and inspiration come in all kinds of people. If ever a pair of awardees exemplified this, these two do.