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Celebrating the legacy of R. A. “Bob” HooverCelebrating the legacy of R. A. Bob Hoover

It is our honor to continue to foster Bob's legacy; however, in an effort to keep all AOPA members, staff, and attendees safe throughout the ongoing situation surrounding the coronavirus COVID-19, AOPA has decided to postpone the event originally scheduled for March 18, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

Instead, the event will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 6 in Orlando at a location near the concurrent National Business Aviation Association’s Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition.

At that time, we will honor Burt Rutan, for his contributions to aviation as an inspired aerodynamicist who never let the laws of convention stop him from innovating.

Event Details

Credit: Stan Stokes

Registration Open in early April

Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Time: 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Location: TBD (in Orlando, near the concurrent National Business Aviation Association’s Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition)

Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Charles McGee, a Tuskegee Airman and decorated veteran of three wars, waves after landing a Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet with pilot Boni Caldeira at Frederick Municipal Airport during a 100th birthday celebration in Frederick, Maryland, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. Photo by David Tulis/AOPA.If you watched the Superbowl, or the State of the Union, you were introduced to Retired Tuskegee Airman Brigadier General Charles McGee. We are thrilled he will join us to present the inaugural Brigadier General Charles E. McGee Aviation Inspiration Award to a deserving young military aviator and aviation leader during the 5th Annual R. A. “Bob” Hoover Trophy Reception.

AOPA's Hartranft award, Sharples award and the General Aviation Safety award will also be presented this evening.

Dress Code: Cocktail Attire (dark suit and tie for the gentlemen, and cocktail dress/pants for ladies)

Hotel: A block of rooms will be reserved and information available later.

Event sponsorship opportunities are available, as well. For more information contact Patty Miller

This event meets all the requirements of a widely attended event

History of the Hoover Award

AOPA was founded nearly 80 years ago on one simple mission: “Protect the Freedom to Fly”.

No one embodies the spirit of that more than the late R. A. “Bob” Hoover.  A true pioneer, Bob inspired so many with his passion for flight, unbelievable flying skills and his humility. 

The first Bob Hoover Trophy was presented to the late, great R.A. "Bob" Hoover himself in 2016 during the unveiling of the statue in his likeness at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center.

Bob agreed to have his name forever memorialized as a tribute to aviators whose airmanship, leadership, mentorship, and passion for aviation inspires a love of flight in countless others.  And AOPA has been entrusted with carrying on his memory through this annual award.

In the words of Bob, “The most important thing any aviator can do is to encourage others to want to fly”.

And that is one of the reasons why all of us here at AOPA share Bob’s passion, and one of the reasons we started AOPA’s You Can Fly initiative.

Sean D. Tucker was awarded the trophy in 2017.  After Sean D. Tucker, Harrison Ford was the recipient in 2018, and Clay Lacy in 2019.   

    photos of the 2019 Bob Hoover Awards at Regan National Airport in Washington, D.C.

Other awards presented during this special evening are the Hartranft Award, named after AOPA’s first president and former chairman of the board “Doc” Hartranft. It is given annually to elected or appointed government officials for their significant contributions to the advancement of GA.  It was presented in 2017 to Congressman Todd Rokita (IN); in 2018 to Congressman Ralph Abraham (LA) and Congressman Steve Russell (OK); and in 2019 to Sen. Jerry Moran (KS).

The Sharples Award, named for AOPA’s first chairman of the board, Laurence P. Sharples, is given to people who do not work in aviation but who have made extraordinary contributions to GA.  It was presented in 2017 to Pat Hartness; in 2018 to Ron Dearborn, AOPA Airport Support Network Volunteer; and in 2019 to Hawaii State Sen. Kai Kahele.

In addition, the AOPA Air Safety Institute believes that knowledgeable people, well trained and proficient in their craft, operating reliable equipment wrapped in a culture that promotes sound aeronautical decision making, will achieve strong safety performance. They recognize that there are individuals and organizations that have made extraordinary safety enhancements in one or more of these areas for general aviation. We established the AOPA Air Safety Institute’s General Aviation Safety Award to honor those that have delivered exceptional performance in safety to benefit the entire general aviation industry. We not only thank them, but also ensure our industry is aware of their work and its impact. This award was first presented to Dick VanGrunsven of Vans Aircraft in 2018, and in 2019 to Tyson Weihs and Jason Miller of Foreflight in 2019.

In 2017, we honored several members of the United States Congress for their strong support of General Aviation with the 2017 AOPA Freedom to Fly award. We thanked them for their leadership in protecting and growing the lifestyle, business, economic driver, and adventure that is general aviation.