Actor Harrison Ford, known by most for his many and varied movie personae, is receiving NBAA’s Al Ueltschi Award for Humanitarian Leadership for his extensive advocacy of general aviation. An accomplished pilot, Ford has made numerous appearances before Congress and regularly flies missions in support of humanitarian and philanthropic causes.
Since earning his private pilot certificate in 1996, Ford has also exposed countless young people to the excitement of aviation through the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles program and served as the program’s chairman for more than five years. In 2010, the National Aeronautic Association honored him with the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy for his many contributions to aviation as an accomplished pilot, aviation industry advocate, humanitarian and mentor.
Ford has participated in the Cessna Citation Special Olympics Airlift, which provides free transport for athletes to the Special Olympics USA National Games. Additionally, he works with the Corporate Angel Network (CAN), flying cancer patients to destinations where they can access the best possible treatment for their specific types of cancer. Ford also joined with hundreds of others in GA in flying relief missions to help victims of the January 2010 earthquake that struck the island nation of Haiti.
“Harrison Ford is an enthusiastic and compassionate representative for general aviation,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “In addition to utilizing a diverse number of aircraft types in support of his career and business endeavors, he also channels his passion for flight into demonstrating the vital humanitarian role that general aviation provides every day, in places all around the world.”
The Al Ueltschi Award was created in 2006 and is named for Albert Ueltschi, who founded FlightSafety International. He has been widely recognized for his lifetime of dedication to philanthropic causes, most notably in the development of international nonprofit Orbis, which brings together dedicated eye-care professionals and aviators to give the gift of sight to people in developing countries around the world.
Among past recipients of the award are FedEx and its founder, Frederick Smith, for their support of Orbis; former Senate majority leader, surgeon and humanitarian pilot Bill Frist; the donors and volunteers in the business aviation community who responded to the humanitarian crisis in Haiti; CAN; Veterans Airlift Command, in recognition of the organization’s work to provide flights for wounded soldiers, veterans and their families; and Cessna Aircraft for its Special Olympics Airlift.