Excellence in Aviation Awards 2015

5th Annual Excellence in Aviation Awards Banquet

Thank you for joining us!

Funds raised at the event will be used for the restoration of the Flight Test Museum’s aircraft and for relocating the Air Force Flight Test Museum from its current location, inside the base, to outside the West Gate to make it accessible to general public.  Because of the events of 9/11, access to the base has been severely restricted and currently general public does not have access to the museum. Proceeds also support funding of scholarships to deserving college students who enter STEM careers after graduation.


“The Flight Test Historical Foundation held its 5th annual Excellence in Aviation Awards banquet on June 13, 2015, to benefit the Air Force Flight Test Museum at EAFB. This year’s honorees were the California Air National Guard’s 163rd Reconnaissance Wing from March Air Reserve Base, as the operators of the remotely piloted MQ-1 Predator aircraft built by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. For the first time in the Nation’s history, with the approval of the U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, a federal combat asset was transferred to the State Governor’s control to be deployed to help CAL FIRE personnel battle wildfires raging around Yosemite National Park in 2013. This remarkable and well deserved recognition took place in the Grand Ballroom of the Proud Bird Restaurant, 11022 Aviation Boulevard, Los Angeles, California.

Aviation legends General Doug Pearson, General Bob Cardenas, Jimmy Doolittle III, and others were in attendance. Congressman Steve Knight (House Armed Service Committee) presented the William J. “Pete” Knight Excellence in Aerospace Scholarship, in honor of his father USAF Colonel William J. “Pete” Knight and on behalf of the Flight Test Historical Foundation, to a deserving college student majoring in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education. Others being honored from the Air National Guard’s 163rd Wing were Colonel Dana Hessheimer, Colonel Douglas Weskamp, and Colonel Keith Ward, along with representatives of CAL FIRE.

This formal event featured the “Blue Eagles” Air Force Honor Guard, and “Rat Pack Ricky” generously provided dinner and dance music with a “Sinatra” theme. Some of the invitees included National and State officials, and Riverside and Los Angeles county city Mayors, Managers, and Councilmembers. The evening also included representation from the United States Air Force, California Air and Army National Guard, and CAL FIRE firefighters.
The Flight Test Historical Foundation hosts its annual Excellence in Aviation Awards Banquet to honor those who played a significant role in the country’s aviation and space exploration achievements and research, and offers those attending a rare opportunity of meeting America’s finest aerospace heroes and pioneers.

Former honorees of Excellence in Aviation award are: Buzz Aldrin, Felix Baumgartner, Robert A. “Bob” Hoover, Brig Gen Robert L. Cardenas, Maj Gen Joe Engle, Robert Gilliland, David Hartman, Col Joe Kittinger, Clay Lacy, Jens K. Neelsen, Frank Robinson (Founder, Robinson Helicopter), Delford M. Smith (Founder, Evergreen Aviation), David Tallichet (W.W. II pilot, Founder, Specialty Restaurants), Art Thompson (Founder, Sage Cheshire Aerospace), and Dr. James O. Young (Former Chief Historian, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards, AFB).

“It is the mission of Flight Test Historical Foundation to preserve the rich local history of flight test through the support of the museum at Edwards Air Force Base and Blackbird Airpark in Palmdale. Our STEM program encourages and inspires the next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians to pursue the innovations and advances that make our nation great.” said Lisa Gray, chair of the Flight Test Historical Foundation board of directors.”

From 2015 “Excellence in Aviation” Awards Banquet by FTHF. Posted by Air Force Flight Test Museum on 5/04/2015 (117 items)

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