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Meritorious Service Award Has Rich History – Add Your Nomination This Month
NBAA has always recognized that the success of business flying can be attributed in part to the pioneering efforts of people from all segments of aviation. That is why the Association has, nearly every year for the past six decades, presented its Meritorious Service to Aviation Award to an individual who has made significant lifelong contributions to aviation.
The award was first presented in 1950 to radio and TV personality Arthur M. Godfrey, and during that decade recipients included Col. Charles A. Lindbergh (1953), who not only was the first man to fly nonstop across the Atlantic, but subsequently helped open international airline routes during the 1930s and later was instrumental in introducing the Dassault Falcon. Helicopter pioneer Igor Sikorsky (1957) was another winner during the 1950s, as was Jimmy Doolittle (1959), who besides being a World War II hero, was a noted air racer and pioneer of instrument flying.
Meritorious Service to Aviation Award recipients during the 1960s included people who were key to the expansion of business aviation, such as Olive Ann Beech (1969) and Henry J. Schiebel, Jr. (1968), who helped launch the Gulfstream aircraft line. But other award winners during this era were innovators who had a broad impact on all of aviation, such as aeronautical chart maker E.B. Jeppesen (1965) and simulator training pioneer Edwin Albert Link (1963).
Over the years, the award winners also have included airline leaders, such as Pan Am's Juan T. Trippe (1970), and inventors and scientists, including jet engine pioneers Sir Frank Whittle and Hans von Ohain (1980); Dr. Charles Stark Draper (1979), the father of inertial navigation; and Dr. Richard T. Whitcomb (1978), developer of the supercritical airfoil and winglets.
Intrepid aviators also have won the award, including test pilot A. Scott Crossfield (1984), the first person to fly at twice the speed of sound; and Jeana Yeager and Dick Rutan (1987), who were the first to fly around the world without stopping or refueling.
Stalwart association leaders, including the General Aviation Manufacturers Association's Edward W. Stimpson (2005) and NBAA's own John H. Winant (1989) also have received the award, as have many of business aviation's other familiar names: William P. Lear, Sr. (1975), Edward J. Swearingen (1974), Russell W. Meyer, Jr. (1995), Allen Paulsen (1994), Serge Dassault (2009) and Albert L. Ueltschi (1991).
Some of aviation's biggest boosters have also garnered the award, from Aviation Week & Space Technology editor and publisher Robert B. Hotz (1981) to Senator Barry M. Goldwater (1983) and, most recently, Arnold Palmer (2010).
NBAA is still accepting nominations for this year's Meritorious Service to Aviation Award, but they must be received by Friday, March 18 (extended deadline). If you know of a worthy candidate, please consider submitting a nomination to NBAA by the deadline. For more information, review the nominations requirements or direct questions to:
1200 18th Street NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 783-9266
Fax: (202) 530-0979
Top photo: The first recipient of NBAA's Meritorious Service to Aviation Award, Arthur Godfrey, extolled the virtues of flying during his broadcasts in the early days of TV. Bottom photo: The most recent recipient, Arnold Palmer, is a longtime supporter of business aviation who lent the power of his celebrity as a famed golfer and businessman to the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign.