AOPA honored for support of public benefit flying

September 19, 2008

AOPA President Phil Boyer receives the Champion of Public Benefit Flying Award from Rol Murrow, Air Care Alliance (left) and Jonathan Gaffney, National Aeronautic Association (right).

AOPA President Phil Boyer on Sept. 18 accepted a special award on behalf of the association from the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) and Air Care Alliance, honoring AOPA’s longtime support for public benefit flying. The ceremony took place in the U.S. Capitol.

“New pilots often ask me, ‘What can I do with my license now that I have it?’” said Boyer. “Well this is it. Through groups like Air Care Alliance, put your certificate to work for others.”

In presenting the award, Rol Murrow of the Air Care Alliance said, “The ‘Champion of Public Benefit Flying’ Award is intended to honor those individuals and organizations not directly involved in public benefit flying themselves, but who nevertheless provide significant—even essential—support to the volunteers and their groups.

“Today we celebrate all those who work for one of our most recognizable aviation organizations—AOPA.”

AOPA has long supported pilots who take part in public benefit flying, which includes among other things, flying medical patients to distant treatment centers, the Civil Air Patrol’s aerial search and rescue missions, and disaster relief operations.

Jonathan Gaffney, president of NAA, noted, “Way back in 1990, AOPA organized the nation’s first public benefit flying conference. From this early meeting was born the Air Care Alliance (ACA).

“In the intervening 17 years, AOPA was a key supporter of ACA and public benefit flying through the hosting of meetings and conferences, recognizing public benefit flying accomplishments through various awards, and providing tremendous exposure to the AOPA membership of the work of ACA and public benefit flying.”

The Public Benefit Flying awards were created to honor volunteer pilots, other volunteers, organizations engaged in flying to help others, and those supporting such work. Since 2003, dozens of awards have been presented at the celebratory Above and Beyond Awards Ceremony, held each fall in the U.S. Capitol Building.

Other recipients at the 2008 Above and Beyond Awards Ceremony include:

  • Distinguished Volunteer Pilot—Bruce Bromberg, Angel Flight Southeast
  • Distinguished Volunteer—Larry Gabriel, Lifeline Pilots
  • Outstanding Achievement in Public Benefit Flying—Lt. Col. Cynthia Ryan, Civil Air Patrol
  • Teamwork—The Founders and Volunteers of Dreams on Wings, the Alabama Air National Guard, and GivingFlite