February 5, 2013
By Dan Namowitz
Seven projects and teams that advanced aviation and aerospace during 2012 are in the running to receive the National Aeronautic Association’s Robert J. Collier Trophy when a new recipient is selected March 11.
The nominees include Lockheed Martin’s Cargo Unmanned Aerial System, the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Dawn Project Team that is probing the solar system’s earliest epoch; Gulfstream’s G650 business jet; the Air Force’s special-mission turboprop MC-12 Project Liberty Team; NASA/JPL’s Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Project Team; high-altitude skydiver Felix Baumgartner and the Red Bull Stratos Team; and the NASA/JPL Voyager Interstellar Mission Project Team.
Recent Collier Trophy recipients include the Boeing 787 Dreamliner for 2011, and the Sikorsky X2 technology demonstrator team, for 2010.
For more than 100 years, the Collier Trophy has stood as “the benchmark of aviation and aerospace achievement,” said the NAA in a news release announcing the current competition. The recipient to be announced will join a list of “some of the most important projects, programs, individuals, and accomplishments in our nation’s history” including crews of Apollo 11, Apollo 8, the Mercury 7 and such projects as the B-52, Polaris Missile, the Surveyor Moon Landing Program, the Boeing 747, and the Cessna Citation, among others.
A selection committee led by NAA Chairman Walter J. Boyne and including three past Collier Trophy recipients will meet in Arlington, Va., on March 11 to select the new recipient, with an announcement to follow on March 12, NAA said. Former Collier Trophy recipients on the panel include Bryan Allen (1979, for the human-powered Gossamer Albatross project); John Tracy (2011, for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner project); and retired NASA administrator, astronaut and pilot Richard Truly (1988).
The Collier Trophy will be formally presented May 9 at the Collier Dinner in Arlington.
NAA is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to advancing America's aerospace leadership and promoting public education of the importance of the nation’s aviation and space flight initiatives.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor.
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