(DAYTON, OH – April 12, 2017) On Saturday, October 28, 2017, the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) will formally enshrine four more outstanding air and space pioneers as the Class of 2017, bringing number of individuals to 237 so honored, to date. Over a dozen former enshrinees are expected to attend the ceremony, including four who have been selected to each serve in the time-honored role of “Presenter” of an inductee.
The 55th Annual NAHF Enshrinement & Ceremony will take place at the Bell Helicopter Fort Worth Alliance Air Show near Fort Worth, Texas. The Inductees in the NAHF Class of 2017 are; Major General Charles F. Bolden, Jr., USMC (Ret), four-time Shuttle astronaut and former NASA Administrator; the late Captain Scott Carpenter, USN, one of the original ‘Mercury 7’ astronauts and the second American to orbit the Earth; Robert J. Gilliland, pioneering super-sonic SR-71 program test pilot; and the late Sir Frank Whittle, the inventor of the revolutionary turbojet engine.
Presenting General Bolden will be 2013 Enshrinee, Capt. Robert L. “Hoot” Gibson, USN (Ret). Capt. Gibson is a Navy fighter pilot, “Top Gun” instructor and test pilot, champion air racer, and a five-time Shuttle mission astronaut, including STS-61C on which he and Bolden served together in 1986.
Presenting the late Capt. Carpenter will be 2016 Enshrinee, Capt. Robert Crippen, USN (Ret). Capt. Crippen is a Navy fighter and test pilot, and, as astronaut, piloted STS-1, the first orbital space flight of the Shuttle, the first of his four missions to space.
Presenting Mr. Gilliland will be 1997 Enshrinee, Col. Joe Kittinger, Jr., USAF (Ret). Col. Kittinger is a fighter and test pilot, long-time record holder for the longest freefall parachute jump (102,800 feet), Vietnam POW, record-setting trans-Atlantic balloonist, and barnstormer.
Presenting Sir Frank Whittle will be 2011 Enshrinee, Dr. S. Harry Robertson. Dr. Robertson is a former Air Force pilot and engineer renowned for pioneering innovations in aviation safety and crashworthy fuel systems, and serving aerospace education institutions such as Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
During the black-tie formal enshrinement dinner and ceremony, each presenter will be introduced by emcee David Hartman, former host of ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America,” before making the presentation of their inductee.
The 55th Annual NAHF Enshrinement Dinner & Ceremony is open to the public and reservations will be available by advance purchase from the NAHF. Nearly 1,000 people are expected to attend, including many leaders of aerospace industry and over a dozen former NAHF enshrinees, such as astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Joe Engle, designers and test pilots Dick and Burt Rutan, general aviation titans Russ Meyer and Dale Klapmeier, and WWII triple-ace Bud Anderson and Tuskegee Airman Charles McGee, among others.
This annual NAHF celebration is widely acclaimed as the “Oscar Night of Aviation,” and the many sponsors committed thus far include GE Aviation, Rolls-Royce North America, Scotts Miracle-Gro, PerformAir International, United, Southwest Airlines and Cirrus Aircraft. Sponsorships include premium seating among other benefits and currently remain available through the NAHF.
The NAHF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in Dayton, Ohio in 1962 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1964. Its mission is to honor America’s aerospace legends to inspire future leaders, which it does through a 17,000 square-foot public Learning Center featuring interactive exhibits, a youth education and other outreach programs, its annual enshrinement ceremony, and collaboration with like-minded organizations.
For more information visit www.nationalaviation.org or call (937) 256-0944 ext. 16.