2014 Press Releases

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NBAA's Bolen Salutes Aviation Legend Russ Meyer at Wichita Tribute

Contact: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360, dhubbard@nbaa.org

Wichita, KS, Jan. 25, 2014 – National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen today paid tribute to general aviation (GA) community legend Russell W. Meyer at a ceremony, hosted by the Wichita Aero Club, to honor Meyer's nearly 50-year legacy of championing the industry’s interests. During the event, the organization awarded Meyer its fourth annual Wichita Aero Club Trophy.

"It is very appropriate for Russ to receive this honor, because it's hard to imagine someone who’s done more for his 'adopted hometown' of Wichita than he has," Bolen remarked while introducing Meyer on the stage where Meyer received the award at the Wichita Aero Club Gala. "He is one of the most significant figures in general aviation history, and has probably had the largest impact on aviation policy than any other single person in the United States."

Meyer joined the Cessna Aircraft Company in 1974 as its executive vice president, and was named chairman the following year. Over his 31-year tenure with Cessna, the Kansas manufacturer delivered 67,000 aircraft. Meyer was named Cessna's Chairman Emeritus in 2005.

"Russ's accomplishments on behalf of aviation began with his work to establish the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF) in 1970," Bolen noted. "He also helped ensure that general aviation received reasonable fuel allocations during that decade's fuel crises, and was instrumental in keeping the national air traffic system moving during the 1981 controllers strike."

As a three-time chair of the Board of Directors for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Meyer battled a slew of stifling regulations that nearly decimated the general aviation industry. Those efforts culminated in the passage of the General Aviation Revitalization Act in 1994, which cleared the way for the production of light GA aircraft to resume in Wichita.

A staunch advocate for business aviation, Meyer has also been instrumental in promoting tax policies allowing those purchasing an aircraft for business purposes to benefit from accelerated depreciation.

The Wichita Aero Club Trophy is the latest in a series of prestigious honors for Meyer, a list that includes two Robert J. Collier Trophy Awards from the National Aeronautic Association, and the same organization's Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy. In 1995, NBAA honored Meyer with the Association's highest honor, the Meritorious Service to Aviation award. He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2009.

"In spite of that lengthy list, Russ’s huge record of accomplishments extends well beyond aviation," Bolen noted. "In fact, the last two times that a sitting U.S. president has visited Wichita, it has been at the invitation of Russ Meyer, and to see the philanthropic projects he's been deeply involved in."

For example, Bolen noted, President Bill Clinton visited the city in 1997 to commemorate Cessna’s 21st Street Training Program, an initiative to give individuals skills and training for workplace advancement. In 2007, President George W. Bush visited Wichita to dedicate a new 42,000-square-foot complex, spearheaded by Meyer, for the Boys and Girls Club of South Central Kansas.

"Russ's contributions to the aviation industry and to the local community are so numerous and so extensive that it would take a book just to list them," noted Dave Franson, Wichita Aero Club President, in a news release announcing Meyer as the 2014 trophy recipient from among 15 nominees. "He is, without question, a great choice for the Wichita Aero Club Trophy."

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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 10,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, the world's largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.

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