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NAA names Distinguished Statesmen, Stateswomen of Aviation

Editor's note: This story was updated on October 14 to add additional information.

The National Aeronautic Association announced its 2022 class of Distinguished Statesmen and Stateswomen of Aviation on September 28.

Established in 1954, The Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman and Stateswoman of Aviation Award honors outstanding living Americans who have made significant contributions to aeronautics.

“It is our privilege at the National Aeronautic Association to honor great achievements and great careers,” said NAA President Greg Principato. “These women and men have contributed so much to aviation throughout the wide spectrum of aviation disciplines. From the flight deck, to aeromodelling, to policy making and advocacy, from historic preservation to parachuting, this class of Distinguished Statesmen and Stateswomen exemplify the best of our industry.”

According to the NAA statement, Pete Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, was honored for “his influential leadership at the General Aviation Manufacturers Association to advance aviation safety, innovation, and workforce development, and his strong advocacy in support of veterans, students, and recreational aviation.”

Bunce’s recognition also drew praise from AOPA President Mark Baker, who said, “I have known Pete for many years and can say that he is most deserving of this award. I consider Pete a great partner in our effort to promote and protect general aviation.”

Other honorees included UPS Vice President of Flight Operations and Safety Houston Mills, who was recognized for “his 37 years of dedicated service as a safety advocate, operator, mentor, and civil and military pilot, and for his significant contributions in setting industry standards and improving aviation safety for all.”

William Shea was honored for “his distinguished service as an advocate for our national aerospace system, enhancing aviation education, and energetically inspiring the next generation of aviation professionals.”

Hazel Sig-Hester was recognized for “enabling, sponsoring, and supporting the advancement and preservation of model aviation by establishing the Sig Manufacturing Company—a leading supplier to model airplane building since 1951—and her dedication to furthering the education of young aviation enthusiasts through the Glen Sig Memorial Scholarship Fund.”

Cheryl Stearns was honored for “advancing the sport of skydiving and inspiring people across the globe as a competitor, world-record holder, exhibition jumper, and the first female member of the United States Army Parachute Team—the Golden Knights.”

Anthony Mazzolini was recognized for “demonstrating leadership and perseverance in securing and restoring an iconic B-29 aircraft as a tribute to the patriots whose commitment and sacrifice contributed to the preservation of freedom and peace during World War II and beyond.”

The 2022 Distinguished Statesman and Stateswoman of Aviation Awards will be presented on a future date and location to be announced. Visit the website for more information.

Amelia Walsh
Communications and Research Specialist
AOPA Comms and Research Specialist Amelia Walsh joined AOPA in 2017. Named after the famous aviatrix, she's a private pilot working on her instrument rating in a Colombia 350.
Topics: Awards and Records

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