The National Aeronautic Association has announced the winners of the 2010 Wesley L. McDonald Elder Statesman Awards and the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy. Ceremonies for the Elder Statesman Awards take place on November 8 in Arlington, Va., to honor recipients Gene Kranz; Maj. Gen. Charles D. Metcalf, USAF (Ret.); Robert L. Taylor and Barry Valentine. This year’s winner of the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy is Harrison Ford, who will receive the award at a banquet held December 17 at the Wright Memorial Dinner in Washington, D.C.
Ford was chosen for the Wright Trophy for “outstanding and significant contributions,” which include serving as chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles program from 2004 to 2009; flying relief missions to Haiti in his Cessna Caravan; his work as honorary chairman of the Special Olympics Airlift this year and flying Special Olympics competitors in his Cessna Citation; educating the public about the benefits of general aviation through the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s GA Serves America campaign; and his many years of assisting the Teton County and Lincoln County (Wyoming) search-and-rescue units by flying missions in his Bell helicopter, including two that resulted in rescues.
“All of us at NAA are very grateful for the work that Mr. Ford has done to advance the cause of aviation and aerospace in our nation,” said Jonathan Gaffney, President and CEO of NAA and the Chairman of the Selection Committee.
Winners of the Wesley L. McDonald Elder Statesman of Aviation Awards were:
Gene Kranz, NASA director of mission operations and author of the book, Failure is Not an Option. Since retiring from NASA in 1994, Kranz has been flying his aerobatic biplane, which he built, and serving as flight engineer on the B-17 Thunderbird at airshow performances.
Maj. Gen. Charles D. Metcalf, USAF (Ret.), is being honored for “his dedication and outstanding leadership” as director of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
Robert L. Taylor is founder of the Antique Airplane Association, inductee in the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame and recipient of the Iowa Department of Transportation Education Award and Experimental Aircraft Association Founders Award. Taylor served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II and the Korean War.
Former Air Force fighter pilot Barry Valentine served many years in senior positions in government and industry, including acting FAA Administrator. According to the awards committee, “his long-standing dedication as a public servant demonstrates his commitment to ensuring a strong future for the aviation/aerospace industry.”