John Travolta, the “Official Ambassador of Aviation,” will host the 15th annual “Living Legends of Aviation Awards” Friday Jan. 19, 2018 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in California. The event honors those who have made significant contributions to aviation. Legendary actor Harrison Ford will present the “Aviation Legacy Award,” and this year’s ceremony is dedicated to astronaut Gene Cernan, who passed away just before last year’s Legends event.
Mr. David Joyce will receive the “Lifetime Aviation Industry Award.” Joyce is Vice Chair of GE and CEO and President of GE Aviation. He also serves on the boards of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the Aerospace Industries Association, the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation and Xavier University.
Mr. Robert Bigelow will receive the “Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award.” Bigelow is the founder and president of Bigelow Aerospace, LLC. in Las Vegas, a company that concentrates on achieving economic breakthroughs in costs associated with the design, development and construction of habitable space structures for private enterprise and government use. He will be presented the award by Mr. Kenn Ricci, last year’s recipient of this prestigious award.
Mr. Ford will present the “Harrison Ford Aviation Legacy Award” to United States Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK). An avid pilot with more than 11,000 flight hours, Senator Inhofe became the only member of the Senate to fly around the world when he recreated Wiley Post’s legendary flight.
General Jack Dailey will receive the Steven F. Udvar Hazy Award, named after the CEO of Air Lease Corporation. General Dailey is retiring from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum as director after 17 years, and his talents have had broad influence on visitors to the museum.
Mr. Tyson Weihs and Mr. Jason Miller will be presented with the “Aviation Entrepreneur of the Year Award.” They are the co-founders of ForeFlight, an innovative, technological flight-planning company.
Mr. Mike Silva will receive the “Vertical Flight Hall of Fame Award.” Silva is a retired, Emmy award-winning news helicopter pilot, recipient of the Bronze Star for service in Vietnam and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Silva helped write helicopter safety standards that are still followed today by many news helicopter pilots.
Mr. Frank Franke will be honored with a special “Legends Wings of Help Award” for his international assistance in founding “Aviation Without Borders.” Franke, along with the three European inductees, are part of the new European contingent for the Living Legends of Aviation Europe.
The “Living Legends” will also welcome new inductees to their ranks:
• H. Ross Perot, Jr., flew around the world in a helicopter at the age of 23.
• Danny Clisham, North America’s most beloved air show announcer with more than 50 years in the business.
• Mark Baker, President of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).
• Felix Baumgartner, Austrian skydiver best known for jumping to Earth from a helium balloon in the stratosphere in 2012.
• Bruno Gantenbrink, world-champion glider pilot and Executive Officer at BEGA Gantenbrink-Leuchten KG.
• Ulf Merbold, second German native astronaut to fly in space.
The “Living Legends of Aviation Awards” are produced by the Kiddie Hawk Air Academy, a 501-c-3 non-profit organization. Kiddie Hawk’s mission is to educate children about and spark their interest in aviation.