Bob Searles (left) is presented with the Silk Scarf Award by Dan Hubbard, senior vice president, communicationsBob Searles (left) is presented with the Silk Scarf Award by Dan Hubbard, NBAA senior vice president, communications (right).

Jan. 23, 2023

NBAA recently presented its prestigious Silk Scarf Award to the association’s retiring Managing Editor Bob Searles, in recognition of a career marked by excellence in bringing a journalist’s insight, dedication and exceptional story-telling abilities to his coverage of business aviation.

Searles has been with NBAA full time since 2014, and has been responsible for the production of NBAA’s award-winning member magazine, Business Aviation Insider, which has evolved from a quarterly newsletter to a bimonthly publication available in print and digital formats. He has also been integral to the success of other association media platforms, including the weekly NBAA Flight Plan podcast and NBAA Insider Daily, a weekday morning roundup of must-read industry headlines with an audience that has grown to more than 80,0000 readers under his stewardship.

Searles has worked with NBAA since 1989 as a freelance editor, writer and consultant. He began his career as a contributor for McGraw-Hill publications, writing for The Weekly of Business Aviation and Business & Commercial Aviation magazine. He has also worked with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) as contributing editor to that organization’s AOPA Pilot magazine.

In conjunction with NBAA’s 50th anniversary celebration in 1997, Searles co-authored NBAA’s Tribute to Business Aviation, which traces the origins and development of business aviation in the United States, from the emergence of business flying during the 1920s, through the industry’s germination during The Great Depression and its rapid rise after World War II. The book, considered a definitive historical account of the sector, also covers the evolution of NBAA since its founding.

In 2003, Searles was named Aerospace Journalist of the Year – Best Propulsion Submission by the World Leadership Forum, for his article documenting the history of engine maker Pratt & Whitney Canada. He is a graduate of Ursinus College and a member of the Aero Club of Washington.

“Bob has been a consummate journalist for aviation for four decades,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “Few people have cared as much about this industry, the technologies, the aircraft, the people and the history. But more than that, no one has been able to capture that passion in the words and the eloquence of Bob Searles.”