NBAA Announces Winners of 2002 Meritorious Service and Doswell Awards

Washington, DC – The Board of Directors of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has selected James D. Raisbeck, CEO of Raisbeck Engineering, as the recipient of the 2002 NBAA Award for Meritorious Service to Aviation. J. Robert Duncan, chairman of Duncan Aviation, will receive the 2002 NBAA John P. “Jack” Doswell Award.

The Award for Meritorious Service to Aviation is 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.

James D. Raisbeck
James Raisbeck has made a career of understanding fluid dynamics at an intuitive level and using this knowledge to deduce the energy of the flow around aircraft structures, reduce drag, enhance overall performance and increase safety margins in previously successful airframes. His contributions to aeronautical science and aviation safety are internationally known and widely respected.

In 1954, Raisbeck left his studies at Purdue University to join the Air Force, where he worked as a flight engineer and mechanic on the B-36 and C119. After leaving the Air Force, he returned to Purdue, where he received a B.S. in aeronautical engineering in 1961. That year, he joined Boeing in Seattle as a research aerodynamicist; he left Boeing in 1969 to become president and chief engineer of Robertson Aircraft Corporation in Bellevue, WA; and in 1973, Raisbeck founded Raisbeck Engineering. Today, he is the chief executive officer of Raisbeck Engineering Inc. and president of its Commercial Air Group. His Seattle-based company integrates advanced technology into existing business and commercial aircraft to increase their productivity and profitability.

Business aviation has benefitted from Raisbeck’s engineering and aerodynamic innovations for business aircraft, including Mark II and Mark IV wings for the Learjet family, the aft fuselage locker for the Learjet 30 series, and aerodynamic and engine modifications for the King Air family. He also developed and certified improvements for the Sabreliner family. In 1996, Raisbeck’s Commercial Air Group completed recertification of the Boeing 727 to meet Stage 3 noise requirements without hush kits. His solution to noise compliance has saved airline and cargo operators millions in acquisition and installation costs. Raisbeck also conceived the idea of a secure cockpit door prior to the events of September 11; the Raisbeck 737 Hardened Cockpit Security System has been in airline passenger service since October 2001. In all, more than 1,800 aircraft feature a Raisbeck Engineering modification.

A Member of NBAA since 1982, Raisbeck was named Pro Pilot Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year in 1999. He is a well-known philanthropist, establishing a distinguished professorship at Purdue University in the field of aeronautical engineering and funding full scholarships for aviation students at both Purdue and South Seattle Community College. He and his wife, Sherry, also support numerous organizations in the Seattle area, including the Seattle Flight Museum, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Opera. Raisbeck and his wife reside in Seattle and have three children.

J. Robert Duncan
Born in Clarinda, IA in 1942, John Robert Duncan was raised in an aviation family that always had an airplane on its own Iowa farm strip. After taking flying lessons in 1958, he soloed as soon as he turned 16, and while still in high school, he obtained various licenses, sold his first airplane and began flying charter. During his college years at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL from 1961 to 1965, he worked whenever possible for Duncan Aviation, the family-owned aircraft-sales company founded by his father, Donald Duncan, in 1956. After graduating from college in 1965 with a B.S. in business administration, Duncan and his new wife, Karen, both worked for Duncan Aviation at its Lincoln, NE location, and within a year, he became general manager.

By 1968, Duncan was elected president of the company; he held that position from 1968 to 1992 and from 1994 to 1997. Between 1992 and 1994, he served the company in the position of CEO, and from 1994 to the present he has acted as its chairman. Today, Duncan Aviation both sells and services general aviation aircraft with an emphasis on business aircraft and is one of the world’s most respected aviation service organizations. The company is continually rated by various industry polls as one of the best avionics, maintenance, completion and overhaul companies anywhere. It ranked 30th in Fortune magazine’s “Best 100 Companies to Work For” list in February 2002.

Duncan was active in NBAA as Associate Member Advisor to the NBAA Board of Directors from 1986 to 1988 and as a member of its Associate Member Advisory Committee (AMAC) from 1983 to 1989, serving as AMAC chair from 1987 to 1988. He also was active in the National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA), which he helped found in 1990 and where he was a vice chair from 1990 to 1993, and the National Air Transport Association, where he served in various capacities, including board member, between 1987 and 1992. Over the years, Duncan also has been involved in many community service groups and sat on the board of many organizations in Iowa and Nebraska. Duncan was inducted into the Nebraska Business Hall of Fame in February 2002.

Duncan is an active pilot with more than 14,000 hours of flight time. He and Karen reside in Lincoln, NE and share three children and four grandchildren.

For More Information
The Meritorious Service and Doswell Awards will be presented on Thursday, September 12 at the NBAA Awards Banquet during the Association’s 55th Annual Meeting & Convention in Orlando. For more information about attending the Convention or the Awards Banquet, please contact NBAA at (202) 783-9283 or visit the 55th Annual Meeting & Convention Web site at

NBAA represents the aviation interests of more than 7,100 companies which own or operate general aviation aircraft as an aid to the conduct of their business, or are involved with business aviation. NBAA Member Companies earn annual revenues approaching $5 trillion — a number that is about half the gross domestic product — and employ more than 19 million people worldwide. The NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention is the world’s largest display of civil aviation products and services.