NBAA Congratulates Board Chair, Gen. Lloyd ‘Fig’ Newton, 2018 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy Recipient

Contact: Dan Hubbard, 202-783-9360,

Washington, DC, Sept. 11, 2018 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) congratulates association board chair, Gen. Lloyd “Fig” Newton, who will receive the 2018 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, one of America’s most prestigious aviation awards. Newton will accept the award during the Aero Club of Washington’s Wright Memorial Dinner on Dec. 14 in Washington, DC.

Awarded annually by the National Aeronautic Association, America’s oldest national aviation organization, the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy honors a living American for “significant public service of enduring value to aviation in the United States.” Newton is being recognized for “his extraordinary achievements as a history-making, African American military aviator and his continuing contributions to the advancement of aviation education and advocacy.”

NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said, “As General Newton’s numerous accomplishments and exemplary life indicate, he has dedicated himself to aviation in a manner truly worthy of this accolade. We, along with the entire aviation community, are pleased that he is being recognized for his life-long dedication to the industry, and especially to aviation education.”

Newton served as an aviator in the U.S. Air Force for over 30 years, logging more than 4,000 flying hours, including 269 combat missions in Vietnam. In 1974, he became the first African American pilot to become a member of the famous U.S. Air Force demonstration team, “The Thunderbirds.” He retired from the Air Force in 2000 as a four-star general, then served as Pratt & Whitney’s executive vice president of international military programs and business development until 2006.

Born to a family of sharecroppers in Ridgeland, SC, Newton graduated from Jasper High School, then earned a bachelor of science degree in aviation education from Tennessee State University, where he was commissioned in 1966 through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He completed his pilot training at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona the following year. Newton has a master’s in public administration from George Washington University and holds honorary doctorates from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and South Carolina’s Benedict College.

Newton has long supported efforts to promote aviation education. He is a founding member of Polaris Tech Charter School in Jasper County, SC. He also has supported the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., an organization dedicated to the preservation of the history of African American veterans who served during World War II. Each year, the General Lloyd W. “Fig” Newton Chapter grants two $1,000 scholarships to deserving young men and women.

Today, Newton chairs NBAA’s Board of Directors and serves on the boards of L3 Technologies, Torchmark Corp. and the National Defense University. He will be inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame later this year.

Past recipients of the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy are a virtual who’s who of aviation legends, ranging from Charles Lindbergh and Jimmy Doolittle to John Glenn and Neil Armstrong. Besides Newton, Wright Trophy recipients with ties to general aviation have included Olive Ann Beech, Harry Combs, Harrison Ford, Bob Hoover, Russ Meyer, Allen Paulson, Burt Rutan, Edward Stimpson, A.L. Ueltschi and Dwayne Wallace.