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NBAA Honors Outstanding Achievement in Business Aviation

NBAA continued its tradition of honoring outstanding achievements in business aviation at various events over the course of the 60th Annual Meeting & Convention (NBAA2007) in Atlanta.

The Association's highest honors were celebrated on opening day at the NBAA Awards Luncheon at the Georgia World Congress Center. "We want to honor the remarkable work done by individuals and organizations across the business aviation community, and from which the industry as a whole benefits," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen, who hosted the luncheon.

Recognitions at the special luncheon ceremony, sponsored by Fortune magazine, included the NBAA American Spirit Award, which was given to Rick Hale of Winner Aviation and Richard Shine of Manitoba Recycling – both NBAA Member Companies – for their service to NBAA, its Membership and general aviation as a whole.

By testifying before key congressional committee hearings this year, both men "illustrated for members of Congress what business aviation is all about and explained to Congress the real impact of user fees on businesses across the country," Bolen said.

NBAA's Al Ueltschi Award for Humanitarian Leadership honors noteworthy charitable and philanthropic works. Bolen said, "This year, we're recognizing an organization that provides air transportation for medical and other compassionate purposes through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots," the Veterans Airlift Command, in recognition of the organization's work to provide flights for wounded soldiers, veterans and their families.

Ken Emerick, on behalf of the Board of Directors, presented Bryan T. Moss, president emeritus of Gulfstream Aerospace, the 2007 NBAA Award for Meritorious Service to Aviation, and E. Patrick Epps, pilot and founder of Epps Aviation, the 2007 NBAA John P. "Jack" Doswell Award.

With their strong ties to both the business aviation industry and the state of Georgia, both men exemplify the lifetime dedication and service to aviation that is at the heart of these two annual honors.

"We all know that safety is the number-one priority for business aviation," Bolen said in introducing this year's recipients of the 50 Year Safe Flying Achievement Awards, which are part of NBAA's Flying Safety Awards Program. "For decades, NBAA has recognized companies that have set the standard for safe flight, and we're going to continue that tradition" in honoring seven recipients in 2007: Federal-Mogul Corporation, for 50 years of safe flight; General Dynamics, for 58 years of safe flight; H.E.B. Grocery Company, LP, for 52 years; Hill Aircraft & Leasing Corporation, for 52 years; Spectra Energy Corporation, for 55 years; Vulcan Materials Company, for 51 years; and Tecumseh Products Company for 50 years.

NBAA also presented its journalism awards at the annual Media Kickoff Breakfast.

Paul Lowe of Aviation International News was presented with the NBAA Gold Wing Award, which recognizes insightful reporting on the most important issues and trends impacting business aviation. Lowe is noted for his thorough and well-researched series of articles on the aviation user fee issue – one of the most pressing issues facing the general aviation industry. His coverage is credited with helping readers to understand the implications of user fees and the threat posed to their businesses.

Also during the breakfast, NBAA posthumously presented the Platinum Wing Award to the late David W. Ewald. NBAA then announced the award will be renamed the David W. Ewald Platinum Wing Award for Lifetime Achievement and Excellence in Journalism. NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen recognized Ewald as "someone who devoted over 50 years to aviation journalism." He also noted, "It has often been noted that Dave was a publishing genius."

During the Opening General Session of NBAA2007, first-time author Jane Gardner Birch was presented with the National Aviation Hall of Fame's (NAHF's) 2007 Combs Gates Award, which was established to encourage and support relevant aviation history research and preservation efforts.

Birch received a $20,000 cash award for her soon-to-be-published book They Flew Proud, inspired by the World War II experience of her father, Gardner Birch, a flight instructor in the Civilian Pilot Training Program at Grove City College and Airport in Pennsylvania.

Presenting the award on behalf of the NAHF at the Opening General Session of the NBAA Convention were great grand-niece of Orville and Wilbur Wright, Amanda Wright Lane; former astronaut and the last man to walk on the moon, Eugene Cernan; and WWII fighter pilot, test pilot and air show legend, Bob Hoover. The Wright brothers, Cernan and Hoover are among the 195 enshrinees honored to date by the NAHF.

In photos below, former NBAA Chairman Ken Emerick (on left, when shown) and NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen (on right) presented awards to this year's recipients.