NBAA has selected long-time pilot and business leader Ross Perot Jr. as this year’s recipient of the Meritorious Service to Aviation Award. First presented in 1950, the Meritorious Service award is considered among the association’s highest honors, recognizing “extraordinary lifelong professional contributions to aviation.”
Chairman of his family investment firm The Perot Group, Perot is the founder and chairman of Hillwood, a global real estate development firm that drove the development of Fort Worth Alliance Airport in Texas. Perot’s support helped Alliance grow into a vital business aviation and industrial transportation center for the region, NBAA said, adding the facility is serving as a model for other locations.
In addition to its support for Alliance, Hillwood has frequently operated its business aircraft on humanitarian missions into challenging situations globally.
Perot’s interest in aviation began at a young age. At 23, he made a mark as the copilot of the “Spirit of Texas,” a Bell 206L-1 LongRanger II, on the first round-the-world flight in a helicopter. He served eight years in the U.S. Air Force and later led a 14-year effort to establish the U.S. Air Force Memorial in Washington, D.C. More recently, Perot has become active in the urban air mobility market, including a partnership with Uber Elevate.
Perot is involved in numerous organizations, serving as chairman of the EastWest Institute and on the boards of the Dallas Citizens Council, Vanderbilt University, and the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum.
“Ross is not only an aviation pioneer in his own right, but also an outstanding citizen, businessman, and leader with a tremendous life story,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “He represents the very best of our industry, including its humanitarian values, and has been a tireless advocate for the entire aviation community and a lifetime patriot for the U.S.”
The award will be presented at the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition next month in Las Vegas. NBAA said recipients of the Meritorious Service to Aviation Award “are those who built the aviation industry, including business aviation, from the ground up by virtue of a lifetime of personal dedication, and who have made significant identifiable contributions that have materially advanced aviation interests.”