President’s Message

‘m still new enough in this job (4 months) that people regularly ask me how I like it, and whether it is what I expected. To be honest, I actually enjoy the job even more than I hoped I would. When I tell them why, I usually get a reaction along the lines of “it sounds like you give a lot of people awards and recognize a lot of records, so you make people happy, and that’s why you must like it!”

Well, yes, it is always nice to make people happy, especially when recognizing an amazing achievement or career. Can’t deny that. But too often, people think we give awards and certify records for no reason other than the immediate recognition that’s involved. To me, nothing can be further from the truth.

The whole point of having awards and records; the whole point of recognizing outstanding achievement, is to keep moving the bar upward. Barely more than a century ago, people refused to believe a pair of brothers got a “flying machine” airborne on a beach in North Carolina. We have now put men on the moon and landed rockets on distant planets, asteroids and comets. Not to mention all the more “mundane” things, like flying across country or across the ocean in a few hours. All of this was done because we recognized earlier achievements, which prodded people to work even harder for even greater achievements.

Records and achievements, fairly earned and recognized, are a major part of what keeps us reaching for even better ways to fly. NAA is entrusted with a major responsibility in recognizing such things, and we take it very seriously. But we always remember that we do not recognize records and achievements only for their own sake. We do it to provide incentives and a clearer path to an even more exciting future.