Ruth C. Scheer, executive director of the Cabot Family Charitable Trust, presents the Aero Club of New England "Cabot Award" to AOPA President Phil Boyer for his "superlative efforts and success in restoring general aviation privileges following September 11."
"Whip" Saltmarsh, chairman of the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission, presents a citation from Governor Jane Swift to Phil Boyer.
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association President Phil Boyer has been honored by the Aero Club of New England (ACONE) for his efforts to restore U.S. pilots' right to fly after the terrorist attacks of September 11. The club presented Boyer its prestigious Godfrey L. Cabot Award during a June 14 luncheon in Boston, Massachusetts.
The award recognizes Boyer's "superlative efforts and success in restoring general aviation privileges following September 11."
"Phil Boyer has shown time and again that he can move political and regulatory mountains to keep the United States the world's greatest venue for the gift of flight," said ACONE President David G. Margolis. "Phil's actions after September 11 topped off a lifetime of leadership in GA."
Margolis also cited Boyer's roles in the passage of the GA Revitalization Act in 1994, the launch of AOPA Project Pilot and the industry-wide Be A Pilot efforts, the formation of the AOPA Airport Support Network, the successful effort to preserve historic Meigs Field in Chicago, and the passage of legislation ensuring that aviation trust fund money would be spent on aviation.
"I can't thank you enough for recognizing me, AOPA, and most importantly, general aviation," said Boyer. "I'm greatly honored and humbled to be placed in the company of previous winners."
In a surprise presentation, Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift also honored Boyer with a citation acknowledging his "contribution to general aviation as President of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, which is deserving of recognition by all the citizens of Massachusetts." Sherman W. "Whip" Saltmarsh, Jr., chairman of the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission, presented the award on behalf of Governor Swift.
But as he accepted the awards for past efforts, Boyer noted that much remains to be done to protect and promote general aviation.
"There is a misconception of who or what general aviation is among decision makers and local governments," Boyer said. "And we're going to do something about that.
"We will soon launch a new world-class Web site and advertising campaign that will describe the positive contributions made each day by general aviation."
Boyer previewed the Web site for the Aero Club of New England audience. The unprecedented effort to tell the truth about GA flying will include an intensive PR outreach to bring in political leaders, government officials, and the public. The campaign is being funded by the GA Restoration Fund, created with donations from AOPA members after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Boyer is the fiftieth winner of the Cabot Award, which is named for one of the founders and longtime president of the Aero Club of New England. The award was presented exactly 50 years to the day that the first Cabot Award was given to helicopter pioneer Igor Sikorsky.
ACONE is celebrating its centenary this year, making it the oldest club of its kind in the United States. It actually predates the Wright brothers' first powered flight and was established to promote ballooning. The club's original charter called on it to "advance the development of the science of aeronautics" and sponsor events to show "balloons or other inventions or constructions designed to be propelled or travel through the air."
ACONE says the Cabot Award winners "shall be individuals or teams who have made unique, significant, and unparalleled contributions to advance and foster aviation or space flight."
Winners have included such luminaries from the aviation community as General James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle, who led the B-25 raid on Tokyo just four months after Pearl Harbor; General Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager, the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound; Dick and Burt Rutan with Jeanna Yeager, who designed and flew the first and only aircraft to circumnavigate the globe without refueling; Scott Crossfield of the X-15 and other pioneering flight test programs, Commander Walter M. Schirra, one of the original Mercury 7 and an astronaut through the Apollo program; Admiral Richard E. Byrd, the first man to fly over the earth's poles (although the North Pole claim is disputed); and Vice Admiral Donald Engen, former FAA administrator and director of the National Air and Space Museum until his untimely death in 1999.
With more than 384,000 members, AOPA is the world's largest civil aviation organization. The association is dedicated to protecting the interests of general aviation pilots. Nearly two thirds of all pilots in the United States belong to AOPA.