NBAA Mourns Arnold Palmer’s Passing, Dedicates 2016 Convention to Golf Legend, Aviation Champion

Contact: Dan Hubbard, (202)

Washington, DC, Sept. 26, 2016 – National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen today reflected with sadness on the passing yesterday of Arnold Palmer, an American icon, golf legend and long-standing advocate for business aviation.

“Arnold Palmer is a national hero who transcended golf,” Bolen said, “and until his passing, it seemed he even transcended time itself, as multiple generations of people from all over the world recognized and loved this American treasure.

“While Arnold’s appeal is universal, he holds a truly special place in the hearts of everyone in aviation,” Bolen added. “His passion for flying, his professionalism with over 19,000 hours in the left seat, and his tireless advocacy for our industry, combined to make him our great champion.

“To honor his legacy, we will dedicate our upcoming convention to his memory,” Bolen continued. “It is especially appropriate to do so as we gather in Orlando, FL, home of the Arnold Palmer Invitational,” Bolen said, referring to the golf tournament held annually at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge, which Palmer has owned since 1974.

A frequent attendee and speaker at NBAA’s conventions, Palmer lent his stature and credibility to a host of NBAA advocacy initiatives. For example, in 2009, he was featured in a so-called “truth” advertisement produced by NBAA, which became one of the cornerstones of the No Plane No Gain campaign, the advocacy program jointly sponsored by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

“Using business aircraft is the single most productive thing I have done,” Palmer says in the television ad. “It’s given me the opportunity to compete more effectively in golf and in business, and it’s enabled me to do both from a place not served by the airlines.”

View Arnold Palmer’s “Truth” ad in its entirety.

That same year, Palmer served as keynote speaker at NBAA’s convention; during his remarks, he declared: “I know the value of business airplanes. I know what they have done for me and my companies. I know how important they are to my hometown. And I know how important they are to this country.”

A respected business leader, Palmer was also one of the first CEOs to lend his name to NBAA’s “Business Leaders on Business Aviation” initiative, also produced for the No Plane No Gain program. The initiative features testimonials from dozens of CEOs, explaining how the use of an airplane helps their companies achieve their business objectives.

“Business aviation has given me an important edge,” Palmer states in a compendium of the CEOs produced by NBAA. “It has allowed me to be in more places, in less time, than the competition. As a result, it has given me more opportunities to succeed.”

Read Palmer’s remarks in the No Plane No Gain “Business Leaders on Business Aviation” booklet.

During NBAA’s 2010 convention, Palmer was recognized with the association’s Meritorious Service to Aviation Award for his dedication to business aviation. In the same year, he received the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) award for aviators, the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, for having exhibited professionalism, skill and aviation expertise for at least 50 years. In 2014, he was inducted into the Citation Jet Pilots Association’s Hall of Honor.

Palmer has received both of the U.S. government’s highest honors – the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which he won in 2004, and the Congressional Gold Medal, which was bestowed in 2009. He also is a member of several halls of fame, including the World Golf, American Golf and PGA halls. In addition, he was named “Athlete of the Decade” for the 1960s by the Associated Press.

The November/December 2016 edition of NBAA’s Business Aviation Insider magazine will include a feature story paying tribute to Palmer’s life and legacy. 

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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 11,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at

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