2011 Press Releases

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Clay Lacy, Don Spruston to Be Honored With NBAA's Highest Awards

Contact: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360, [email protected]

Washington, DC, August 15, 2011 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today announced that the legendary pilot and entrepreneur Clay Lacy will receive the 2011 NBAA Meritorious Service to Aviation Award, and international business aviation pioneer Don Spruston will receive the 2011 NBAA John P. “Jack” Doswell Award.

The Meritorious Service to Aviation Award is NBAA’s most distinguished honor, presented annually to an individual who, by virtue of a lifetime of personal dedication, has made significant, identifiable contributions that have materially advanced aviation interests. The Doswell Award is granted for lifelong individual achievement on behalf of and in support of the aims, goals and objectives of business aviation.

"NBAA is proud to recognize these two outstanding leaders in the business aviation community for their lifelong service and invaluable contributions to the industry," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen.

Meritorious Service to Aviation Award Recipient Clay Lacy

Lacy is a world-renowned pilot with over 50,000 hours of flying time whose lifetime in aviation has included experience as an Air Force pilot and airline pilot, fame as a national air racer, and international success as a director and videographer specializing in air-to-air sequences for Hollywood blockbuster movies and television commercials.

In October 1964, Lacy based the first business jet at Van Nuys Airport (VNY), and from 1964 to 1967, he worked as a manager of Lear Jet sales in 11 western states. In 1968, he established the first jet charter service west of the Mississippi River, at VNY.

Today, he is still owner and chief executive officer of Clay Lacy Aviation, a full-service fixed base operator with a FAR 135 air taxi charter and aircraft management operation with a fleet of 65 jets, including Lears, Gulfstreams and Boeing Business Jets.

With his exclusive Astrovision-equipped Learjets, Lacy has gathered video footage for nearly every airline commercial, and for the aircraft industry and U.S. military.

As a member of the Screen Actors Guild and Directors Guild of America, Lacy has participated in aerial scenes for dozens of movies, including faking the gear-up landing of a Learjet for the movie, “Capricorn One,” and performing an actual gear-up landing with a DC-3 for the film, “The Island.”  His director credits include aerial sequences for “Top Gun” and “The Right Stuff.”

Lacy was national champion of the Reno National Air Races/Unlimited Class in 1970. In 1988, he set an “around-the-world speed record” in a United B-747 SP, while raising $530,000 for children’s charities.

The man who once said, “I have seldom met an airplane I didn’t like,” grew up in the birthplace of aviation manufacturing, Wichita, KS, and knew by of the age of 7 that he wanted to be a pilot. By age 12, he was working at an airport trading his time for flying instruction.

With his unparalleled record of flying time in more than 200 different aircraft, Lacy holds an airline transport license with 32 type ratings, including for helicopters, sea planes, flight instruction and flight engineering. He is understandably known in the industry as the “flyingest pilot ever.”

In 2010, Lacy was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame, received a Pathfinder Award at the Seattle Museum of Flight and was awarded the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Certificate by the Federal Aviation Administration.

“Clay Lacy’s name appears on a great many pages of official aviation record books,” Bolen said. “We are proud to celebrate his lifelong devotion to flying airplanes and advancing the professionalism and safety of our industry with business aviation’s highest honor.”

John P. "Jack" Doswell Award Recipient Don Spruston

International business aviation pioneer Don Spruston has been responsible for shaping many of the advances in today’s business aviation industry, from best practices in safety to international flight operations as the director general of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) from 1999 to the present.

Under Spruston’s leadership, IBAC has effectively advocated for the interests and concerns of business aviation before the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) – the global standards-setting body for civil aviation around the world, including for safety and operations standards.

Development of new safety standards for Annex 6, Part II of the Chicago Convention governed by ICAO, which addresses the modernization of operational rules and safety for general aviation worldwide, is a milestone in the history of IBAC that owes much to Spruston’s leadership.

Spruston acknowledged the achievement in a recent NBAA tribute to IBAC’s 30th anniversary, saying deferentially, “It was significant recognition of business aviation as a trusted participant in the international process.”

A lifetime aviator, Spruston previously served as managing partner of Canadian Aviation Safety Associates, where he conducted evaluations of civil aviation authorities. He also served as advisor to ICAO in establishing its Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program.

Before joining IBAC, Spruston was director general of civil aviation in Canada, and also managed a flight department of over 90 aircraft as director general of aircraft services. He received his aviation training at the Royal Military College of Canada, and holds an airline transport pilot license, with experience flying worldwide cargo operations and system evaluation flying.

He is a frequent writer on aviation safety, and has been honored with the Transport Canada Safety Award, the Canadian Owners and Pilots President Award and the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute C.D. Howe Award.

“The global business aviation community would not be the same without visionaries like Don Spruston,” Bolen said. “He has been a tremendous advocate and leader in promoting the industry’s agenda and furthering its cause. NBAA is pleased to recognize his outstanding contributions.”

Lacy and Spruston will receive their awards during NBAA's 64th Annual Meeting & Convention, to be held from October 10 to 12 in Las Vegas, NV, at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Henderson Executive Airport. 

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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 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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