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GA companies among those vying for Collier Trophy

Nine to compete for prestigious honor

Here’s a sure way to discover some of the most exciting projects striving to push back the horizons of aviation and aerospace: Check out the list of the nine nominees for the 2017 Robert J. Collier Trophy.

Cirrus Vision Jet, photography by Chris Rose

From technological breakthroughs in aviation to mankind’s probing of the solar system’s deep reaches, the National Aeronautic Association has named the aviation and space achievements that will compete for the trophy, with the winner to be selected on March 22, announced the next day, and presented with the Collier Trophy at a formal event on June 14.

That presentation will continue a tradition that for 105 years has made the annual award of the Collier Trophy “the benchmark of aerospace achievement.” The award “has been bestowed upon some of the most important projects, programs, individuals, and accomplishments in history,” the National Aeronautic Association said in a Feb. 5 news release.


The Boeing 737 MAX, a family of single-aisle airliners the Boeing Co. describes as the fastest-selling airplane in the company’s history.

Cirrus Aircraft’s Vision SF50 jet, the single-engine, owner-flown aircraft that the manufacturer said has created “a whole new category of aircraft—the personal jet.”

The Edwards Air Force Base F-35 Integrated Test Force, a team of nearly 700 military, government, and contract workers conducting developmental test flights of the three F-35 variants.

The NASA/JPL Cassini Project Team, the partnership that brought together scientists from 17 countries “to gain a better understanding of Saturn, its stunning rings, its magnetosphere, Titan and its other icy moons,” according to NASA.

The Perlan Project, working to achieve creation of “a spacecraft with glider wings” to “fly to 90,000 feet at the edge of space to explore the science of giant mountain waves that help create the ozone hole and change global climate models” and “provide education and inspiration for young people seeking careers of exploration and adventure in engineering and science.” The Perlan 2, which soared on a stratospheric mountain wave to 52,000 feet on Sept. 3, 2017, was recently outfitted with a BRS Aerospace whole aircraft ballistic parachute for the 2018 attempt.

The TSA, Air Line Pilots Association, and Airlines for America (A4A) Known Crewmember and TSA Pre✓ programs. The Known Crewmember program is a joint initiative of A4A and the Air Line Pilots Association linking databases to enable Transportation Security Administration security officers “to positively verify the identity and employment status of crewmembers.” The TSA Pre✓ program is designed to speed program members through airport security.

The U.S. Marine Corps, Office of Naval Research, and Aurora Flight Sciences Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility System, a helicopter designed to deliver supplies to a force on the ground, then return to its point of departure or fly to another delivery destination.

The Vanilla Aircraft VA001, an autonomous aircraft with range and endurance designed to “greatly reduce the operating cost and manpower burden to provide persistent aerial coverage,” enabling “new missions previously beyond the capabilities of mid-size UAS.”

Zee Aero Division of Kitty Hawk Corp., a Silicon Valley-based developer of a vertical takeoff and landing aircraft it describes as “a revolutionary new form of transportation” being created “at the intersection of aerodynamics, advanced manufacturing, and electric propulsion.”

Past projects and programs that have received the Collier Trophy include the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, the Boeing 747, the Cessna Citation, the F-22, and the International Space Station. Other past winners of the Collier Trophy have included the crews of Apollo 11 and Apollo 8, the Mercury 7, Scott Crossfield, Elmer Sperry, Howard Hughes, and Orville Wright.

The five most-recent recipients of the Collier Trophy are the Blue Origin New Shepard Team; the NASA/JPL Dawn Mission Team; the Gulfstream G650; the Northrop Grumman, U.S. Navy, and X-47B Industry Team; and the NASA/JPL Mars Curiosity Project Team.

AOPA ePublishing staff
AOPA ePublishing Staff editors are experienced pilots, flight instructors, and aircraft owners who have a passion for bringing you the latest news and AOPA announcements.
Topics: Technology, Awards and Records

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