2010 Press Releases

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Arnold Palmer Receives NBAA's Highest Honor

Meritorious Service Award Given During Special Session at Convention

Contacts: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360, dhubbard@nbaa.org 
Patrick Dunne, (202) 783-9263, pdunne@nbaa.org

Atlanta, GA, October 20, 2010 – NBAA’s first-ever second-day General Session, held today at the Association’s Annual Meeting & Convention, was a celebration of heroes that culminated with presentation of NBAA’s 2010 Meritorious Service Award to golfing legend, businessman and American icon Arnold Palmer.

The Meritorious Service to Aviation Award, NBAA’s highest, is presented annually to an individual who, by virtue of a lifetime of personal dedication, has made identifiable contributions that have materially advanced the industry’s interests. Since 1950, NBAA has presented this award to numerous outstanding individuals, from Charles Lindbergh to Senator Barry Goldwater.

A pilot since 1956, Arnold Palmer has amassed more than 19,000 flight hours and earned multiple type ratings. “Arnie” took flying lessons at his hometown airport in Latrobe, PA, at a field that bears his name. Palmer has owned and flown numerous business aircraft, from an Aero Commander to a Citation X. He even set an around-the-world speed record in a Learjet 36.

Palmer continues to rely on business aviation today. He remarked that just yesterday he flew from Orlando to Charlotte to conduct some business, returning in time to be in his Florida office by early afternoon.

But, as NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen explained during today’s award ceremony, “it is Arnold Palmer’s service to the industry that is the reason we are presenting him with the Meritorious Service Award today. Arnold Palmer has been willing to use his good name to promote business aviation at a time when we needed it most.”

Speaking out for business aviation is nothing new for Palmer, who after the air traffic controllers’ strike of 1981 helped explain the new, complicated reservation system set up for general aviation operations. Most recently, when policymakers and opinion leaders were disparaging business aviation after auto industry executives flew in company airplanes to ask for government financial assistance, the industry again turned to Palmer. 

Besides getting a standing ovation from the audience, Palmer received videotaped congratulations from renowned investor and fellow No Plane No Gain spokesman Warren Buffett.

In accepting the award, Palmer thanked NBAA and everyone present, saying, “As a young boy I dreamed of flying, and aviation has allowed me to visit places all over the world and spend extra time with my family. I wouldn’t be here today without my airplane.

“I met a lot of great people while playing golf,” continued Palmer, “but business aviation has a lot of great people too. It’s been a wonderful trip.”

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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association, Inc. (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 8,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention, the world's largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.

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