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NBAA Supports Aviation Hall of Fame’s Work to Inspire Youth
The staff of the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) believes that preserving the memory and achievements of more than 200 people who have advanced the world of aviation will not only honor their contributions, but challenge future generations to follow in their footsteps.
Chartered by Congress in 1964, the NAHF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the pilots, engineers and other people who have made a positive impact on aviation or furthered its history. Situated adjacent to the National Air Force History Museum in Dayton, OH, the Hall of Fame has an inspiring display of aviation history, as seen through the eyes of the people who made the greatest impact on the industry’s success.
“ Business aviation has been an important part of aviation history, because it has always been a driving force for progress. ”
“They’re innovators, entrepreneurs, and as role models, we have the best collection in the world,” says Hall of Fame Executive Director Ron Kaplan about the 199 enshrinees. “We want people to understand these were ordinary people, just like you and me, who did extraordinary things to advance aviation.”
NBAA has been a proud supporter of the Hall of Fame since 2002. The Association donates floor space to the organization during NBAA’s Annual Meeting & Convention, and NAHF staffers routinely participate in the Convention’s Opening General Session. NBAA also regularly contributes to the fundraising campaigns and ceremonies of the NAHF.
“The National Aviation Hall of Fame helps connect youth to aviation at a time when the industry is changing,” says David Vornholt, a former member of the NBAA Board of Directors who now is on the Hall of Fame’s nominating committee.
“Business aviation is an important part of aviation history, because it has always been a driving force for progress in aviation, and there are a number of enshrinees who came from a business aviation background.”
“ NBAA regularly contributes to the fundraising campaigns and ceremonies of the National Aviation Hall of Fame. ”
As an example, Vornholt points to William Lear, Sr., who developed radio and navigation systems before conceiving the Lear Jet in the early 1960s. William Thomas Piper, Sr., established Piper Aircraft Corporation in 1937, and his Piper Cubs helped popularize general aviation. Former Cessna Chairman and CEO Russell W. Meyer, Jr. will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in July 2009.
Recently, the Hall of Fame has set its sights on not only recognizing memorable achievements, but also on challenging potential future aviators to enter the industry.
"If you could use our enshrinees to capture the attention of students, even those in college, it’s a simple and effective way to augment science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education,” Kaplan says. “It’s tough to get younger people interested in aviation and space; shuttle launches are a mundane thing now.”
The Hall of Fame staff believes the enshrinees can contribute to inspiring a new generation of aviators and engineers through an educational focus on STEM curricula.
Kaplan adds that the Hall of Fame is ideally situated in Ohio, given its role as the birthplace of aviation, and the initiatives underway in the state to keep skilled engineers and pilots there. For instance, the Hall of Fame annually hosts the Wings of Women Conference, which is designed to inspire young women to pursue careers in aviation.
“We think it’s a great model,” Kaplan says. “We’re hopeful that people in our industry can help us grow these types of programs to their full potential.”