NBAA has selected Dr. Martine Rothblatt as this year’s recipient of its highest honor, the Meritorious Service to Aviation Award. A fixed-wing and rotorcraft pilot, she helped to revolutionize the satellite radio industry by co-founding the company that has become SiriusXM.
To be presented during NBAA-BACE, which will be held October 12 to 14 in Las Vegas, the Meritorious Service to Aviation Award recognizes “extraordinary lifelong professional contributions" to the field.
NBAA called Rothblatt a trailblazer in aviation and other industries whose work “fostered the availability of satellite weather information and Nexrad graphics on the flight deck—one of the major technological advancements in aviation safety over the past couple of decades.”
Rothblatt also has played a role in the emergence of electric helicopters. “Her intellectual property is at the heart of a record-setting electrically powered Robinson R44 helicopter dubbed the EcoMax,” NBAA said.
In addition, she is an integral player in advanced air mobility (AAM) companies, including Beta Technologies, which has won contracts from the U.S. Air Force, Blade Urban Air Mobility, and United Parcel Service. Her work has focused on the use of new eVTOL aircraft for organ delivery, among other purposes.
She is considered an early visionary in biotechnology as well. After her daughter was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension, she founded United Therapeutics in 1994 to develop drugs to treat that condition and other rare diseases.
“The remarkable breakthroughs for which Martine is responsible are not just a result of her passion for aviation, but also her dedication to making our world a better place,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “She is truly a Renaissance person who has applied visionary thinking to several important fields of endeavor.”
Rothblatt is speaking during the opening day of NBAA-BACE, providing her perspectives on trends that will shape the future.