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Living Legends of Aviation awards conferred

On Jan. 24, a star-studded group of the industry’s luminaries, visionaries, and lifelong devotees received recognition from the Living Legends of Aviation organization at a Beverly Hills, Calif. A Living Legend of Aviation Award was presented to Jeppesen CEO and President Mark Van Tine in recognition of his leadership role in the industry, and AOPA Pilot columnist Barry Schiff joined eight other inductees as 2012 Living Legends.

‘Skytalker’ Danny Clisham hosted the annual ceremony that also serves as a fundraiser for the nonprofit Kiddie Hawk Air Academy. The academy is dedicated to sparking and developing children’s interest in aviation.

Van Tine received his award from Pete Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

“With a clear vision for the potential of tablet technology in the cockpit, Mark Van Tine set his sights on revolutionizing the way pilots plan and manage their flights,” Bunce said. “Mark led his team through the development of innovative and reliable aviation applications that have revolutionized the way navigational information is managed in the cockpit. He is an extraordinary leader, deeply respected by his employees and industry colleagues.”

Van Tine, who has been with Jeppesen, a Boeing Company subsidiary, for 30 years, said that he considers it his responsibility to carry forward the legacy of company founder Capt. Elrey Jeppesen by focusing the firm on continuing to deliver “transformational information and optimization solutions” for aviation and other modes of transportation.

Aviation Entrepreneur of the Year honors were conferred on Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Eren and Fatih Ozmen. J. Robert Duncan of Duncan Aviation received a Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur award. Actor and aviator Morgan Freeman was honored with an Aviation Inspiration and Patriotism Award. The year’s Aircraft of Legend Award went to Boeing’s 787 Dreamteam. Aircraft designer Burt Rutan received the Bob Hoover Freedom of Flight Award.

Joining Schiff as new inductees were “Miracle on the Hudson” flight Capt. Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger; aerobatic performers Steve and Suzanne Asbury Oliver; aviation entrepreneur and pilot Jeff Puckett; aviation training personalities John and Martha King; Gulfstream Senior Vice President Pres Henne; and Elon Musk, co-founder of SpaceX and PayPal.

More than 50 Living Legends of Aviation attended the 2012 ceremony. Legends and other celebrities on the guest list included Harrison Ford, Freeman, Bob Hoover, Tom Cruise, Buzz Aldrin, Clay Lacy, Lynn Tilton, Burt and Dick Rutan, Carroll Shelby, Barron Hilton, Kermit Weeks, Joe Clark, Tony Bill, Julie Clark, and Patty Wagstaff, said an announcement of the event.

The Living Legends meet the third Friday of every January to recognize and honor individuals that have made significant contributions in aviation. The awarding organization describes its honorees as “aviation entrepreneurs, innovators, record breakers, industry leaders, astronauts and pilots who have become celebrities and celebrities who have become pilots.”

Dan Namowitz
Dan Namowitz
Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 35-year AOPA member.
Topics: Aviation Industry

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