Arnold Palmer, Chuck McKinnon To Be Honored With NBAA’s Highest Awards

Contacts: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360, dhubbard@nbaa.orgPatrick Dunne, (202) 783-9263,

Washington, DC – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today announced that Arnold Palmer, the legendary golfer and esteemed businessman who serves as a voice for the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, will receive the 2010 NBAA Meritorious Service to Aviation Award, and Chuck McKinnon, a business pilot and aviation legend, will receive the 2010 NBAA John P. “Jack” Doswell Award.

The Meritorious Service to Aviation Award is NBAA’s most distinguished honor, 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.

“NBAA is proud to recognize these two outstanding members of the business aviation community for their dedication and many contributions to the industry,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen.

Meritorious Award Recipient Arnold Palmer

Arnold Palmer is not only an American icon, but also a highly respected advocate for business aviation. His career as a professional golfer includes a host of championships in national and international competitions, but he also knows first-hand the importance of business aviation. Because his business is located in Latrobe, PA – a town not served by the commercial airlines – business aviation has been a vital element in the success of Palmer’s enterprises.

Palmer serves as a spokesperson for the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, which is jointly sponsored by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). The campaign educates policymakers and opinion leaders about the value of business aviation to citizens, companies and communities across the country.

Palmer has been featured in print and television ads that have appeared in and outside Washington, DC, and also in a number of aviation industry publications. In one No Plane No Gain TV spot, Palmer says: “For more than 50 years, using a business airplane is the single-most productive thing I have done.”

Palmer has spoken at NBAA’s Annual Meeting & Convention on several occasions, each time highlighting the benefits business aviation brings to the nation’s economy and transportation system.

In addressing the large crowd gathered at the Opening General Session for NBAA’s 2009 Convention, Palmer explained why he felt compelled to lend his voice to the No Plane No Gain program. “I know the value of business airplanes,” he said. “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.” 

NBAA’s Bolen noted: “Arnold Palmer has long relied on an airplane to help him succeed in golf and business. He understands well the essential role of business aviation in serving towns and communities across the country. For lending his voice to our industry’s advocacy campaign, NBAA is pleased to honor him with NBAA’s highest award.”

Palmer will be represented with the Meritorious Service Award in a very special general session on the Convention exhibit floor on October 20. To view Palmer’s No Plane No Gain TV advertisements, visit

John P. “Jack” Doswell Award Recipient Chuck McKinnon 

Chuck McKinnon will receive the 2010 Doswell Award in recognition for his pioneering role in business aviation, and his pivotal leadership in unlocking the industry’s future in the U.S., Europe and beyond.

McKinnon flew as a commercial pilot for United Airlines during World War II. When the carrier received an air transport contract, he flew supplies and troops in the U.S. and overseas. In 1954, he was tapped to fly the first business airplane used by IBM, an Aero Commander, which transported IBM engineers to locations across the country for on-site projects.

As IBM’s flight department grew, McKinnon unveiled the company’s aviation facilities at Le Bourget Airport, just outside Paris, France. The flight department, called IBM Euroflight, was the first business aviation operation in Europe, with three aircraft based at Le Bourget. McKinnon continually championed the value of Le Bourget to French government officials and was instrumental in thwarting plans to level the airport to make room for residential and commercial development.

This year marked the 50th anniversary of the first time IBM landed one of its airplanes at Le Bourget Airport. French dignitaries honored McKinnon’s long-standing role in advocating for business aviation and the airport with an invitation to an April 19 ceremony in France recognizing the importance of Le Bourget as an economic engine and historic landmark.

McKinnon, a business aviation legend, learned to fly in the late 1920s, in a Waco biplane flown from an abandoned Atlanta auto racetrack. He has piloted four presidents, two kings and several astronauts. Always a space-exploration enthusiast, he has received a commemorative medal that made the flight to space station Mir and back.

“Business aviation in and outside the U.S. would not be the same without visionaries like Chuck McKinnon,” Bolen said. “He has worked tirelessly to promote the many benefits and opportunities business aviation offers a country, a region and the global business community, and NBAA is pleased to recognize his outstanding contributions.”

Palmer and McKinnon will receive their awards during NBAA’s 63rd Annual Meeting & Convention, to be held from October 19 to 21 in Atlanta, GA, at the Georgia World Congress Center and Peachtree DeKalb Airport.

To hear a special edition of the NBAA Flight Plan podcast featuring an audio interview with McKinnon, visit

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 8,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention, the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at