NBAA to Honor Visionary Martine Rothblatt With 2021 Meritorious Service to Aviation Award

Contact: Dan Hubbard, 202-783-9360,

Washington, DC, May 18, 2021 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) will bestow its highest honor, the Meritorious Service to Aviation Award, to Martine Rothblatt, a pilot and trailblazer in aviation and other industries as part of the 2021 NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) taking place Oct. 12-14 in Las Vegas, NV.

A fixed-wing and rotorcraft pilot, Dr. Rothblatt helped establish the satellite radio industry and co-founded the company that has become SiriusXM. Her pioneering work fostered the availability of satellite weather information and Nexrad graphics on the flight deck – one of the major technological advancements in aviation safety over the past couple of decades.   

More recently, Dr. Rothblatt played a critical role in the groundbreaking field of electric helicopters. Her intellectual property is at the heart of a record-setting electrically powered Robinson R44 helicopter dubbed the EcoMax. Dr. Rothblatt is also a driving force behind multiple advanced air mobility (AAM) companies, including Beta Technologies, which has recently secured major contracts with the U.S. Air Force, Blade Urban Air Mobility, United Parcel Service and others. Much of Dr. Rothblatt’s work is focused on using AAM for the delivery of organs, cargo, passengers and other purposes.

Dr. Rothblatt was an early visionary in the field of biotechnology. Motivated by her daughter being diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension, in 1994 she founded United Therapeutics, which today offers five FDA-approved drugs to treat the life-threatening condition and other rare diseases.

“The remarkable breakthroughs for which Martine is responsible are not just a result of her passion for aviation, but also her dedication to making our world a better place,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “She is truly a Renaissance person who has applied visionary thinking to several important fields of endeavor. We are pleased to bestow NBAA’s highest honor to Martine in recognition of her countless efforts to lead humanity toward a brighter future.”

Dr. Rothblatt holds Bachelor’s, JD and MBA degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Ph.D. in medical ethics from the Royal London School of Medicine & Dentistry. She holds patents on a number of technologies, including satellite radio, biochemistry and cognitive software. She is also a celebrated author of several books addressing a diverse multitude of topics, including non-binary gender identity, cyberethics, and xenotransplantation.   

In addition to receiving NBAA’s Meritorious Service to Aviation award, Dr. Rothblatt will offer her perspectives at NBAA-BACE about the trends that will shape the world of tomorrow, from her viewpoint as one of the people helping to shape that future.

First presented in 1950, the NBAA Meritorious Service to Aviation Award is business aviation’s most distinguished honor, recognizing extraordinary lifelong professional contributions to aviation. Through their perseverance, business savvy and technological innovation, Meritorious Service Award winners have created one of the most diverse, responsive and versatile industries the world has ever known and a remarkable community that supports it.

Read more about the award.

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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 company and professional members and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at

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