Dayton, OH, July 16, 2010 — The 2010 Milton Caniff “Spirit of Flight” Award, presented Friday evening to the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), is above all else, a recognition of the vision and dedication of the people in the business aviation community, Association President and CEO Ed Bolen said.
“NBAA is humbled by this honor,” Bolen said, “because it pays tribute to the tens of thousands of extraordinary individuals whose passion and professionalism have made the business aviation community one of America’s great success stories.”
The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) bestows the prestigious “Spirit of Flight” award annually to a group or organization that has made a significant contribution to America’s aviation heritage. Previous recipients have included NASAs Apollo program and the X-Prize Foundation.
The award was presented to NBAA in a ceremony as part of the NAHF’s annual “Enshrinement Weekend”. The program for the ceremony – which was designed to recognize a number of the industry leaders past and present whom Bolen said had helped make the award possible – took place at the historic National Museum of the United States Air Force’s Modern Flight Gallery in Dayton.
As part of the event, FAA Administrator J. Randolph “Randy” Babbitt presented the award to Bolen and NBAA Board Chairman Patrick Cunningham, director of Aviation for PepsiCo, Inc.
The evening featured a special video telling the story of business aviation and demonstrating the ways NBAA Member Companies of all sizes rely on business aviation to succeed. Told through breathtaking footage and compelling testimonials, the video affirmed a basic truth: Business aviation is essential to citizens, companies and communities across the United States.
Communicating that value has been a central focus of the “No Plane No Gain” advocacy campaign, sponsored by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and the video featured NBAA Members, local elected officials and others repeatedly stating: “No Plane No Gain!” At the videos conclusion, American icon and No Plane No Gain spokesman Arnold Palmer emphatically issued his stamp of approval, stating: “Im Arnold Palmer, and I approved this message, simply because its true!”
Also as part of the award ceremony, an all-star panel of aviation leaders, moderated by television news legend and aviator David Hartman, discussed their views on the rich history and promising future of business aviation. The panel included: Clay Jones, Chairman, President and CEO, Rockwell Collins; Clay Lacy, President, Clay Lacy Aviation; Jeff Lee, Director, Flight Operations, IBM; Joe Lombardo, President, Gulfstream Aerospace; Jack Pelton, Chairman, President and CEO, Cessna Aircraft Company; and David Sokol, Chairman, President and CEO, NetJets.
NAHF Enshrinement Director Ron Kaplan added his appreciation for NBAA and its Member companies. “Many people do not fully understand business aviation, but those who are driving America’s economic engine understand first-hand its real importance,” he said.
Kaplan recalled that NAHF’s Board of Trustees first announced the organization’s intention to bestow the award upon NBAA during the Opening General Session of NBAA’s 2009 Annual Meeting & Convention in Orlando, FL. That intention was formalized on December 17, 2009, at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, as part of an annual celebration of the anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first controlled powered flight.
At the conclusion of the award ceremony, Bolen said: “Our thanks to the National Aviation Hall of Fame for recognizing the many individuals in business aviation whoseleadership and innovation have been so critical to the advancement of this entire industry.”
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.
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