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TopNAA Record                                               March 2011

Annual Spring Awards Luncheon to Honor

Most Memorable Aviation Records and

Announce the 2010 Collier Winner

   The NAA Annual Spring Awards will be held on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, VA.

   NAA will use the occasion to recognize the Most Memorable Aviation Records of 2010 and other record-setters. The 2010 Collier Trophy winner will also be announced.


Christopher Keller set a record for absolute duration while piloting this solar-powered Zephyr UAV.

   Most Memorable Record Setters scheduled to attend include 82-year-old Arnold Ebneter, who set a 2,327 mile distance record; Christopher Kelleher, a UAV operator who set an absolute record for duration; John Parker, who smashed a 35-year-old speed record; and Douglas Cairns, who set a new record for visiting all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

   Other record setters attending are Jason Ledbetter and Randy McGehee, who set city-to-city speed records. Ledbetter was in a Spirit Airlines Airbus A319; McGehee was in a Swearingen Merlin IIIB.

Blue Thunder

John Parker set a speed record in his

Thunder Mustang named "Blue Thunder II."

   One of the highlights of the event will be NAA Chairman Walter Boyne's announcement the winner of the 2010 Collier Trophy. The committee selecting the winner includes three former Collier Trophy winners: Neil Armstrong, Dick Rutan, and Richard Truly, as well as other leaders of the aviation and aerospace industry.

   The nominees for the 2010 Robert J. Collier Trophy are:

  • Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System Fighter Risk Reduction Program Team
  • General Aviation: Saving Thousands of Lives in Haiti
  • MC-12W Project Liberty Team
  • Orion Launch Abort System Development Team
  • Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and the X2 Technology Demonstrator Team
  • The Boeing Company C-17A Globemaster III Team
  • X-51A WaveRider Team

   Click here for event information and reservations or contact [email protected].


Vice Admiral Dave Venlet Provides

Update on Joint Strike Fighter Program


VADM Dave Venlet

   Talking about core principles such as "fundamentals, realism, communications, and transparency," Vice Admiral Dave J. Venlet, USN, Director of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program, gave a detailed update on the F-35 Lightning II program to NAA members and the press at NAA's February Luncheon.

   Despite a political environment where change is constant, plus some unexpected challenges encountered during development and testing, Venlet said he is remaining true to his mission.

   "My marching orders are to do what it takes to meet the requirement [to build the JSF] - there has been no change in that," he declared.

   While the testing phase for the aircraft is laid in for a certain amount of time, he explained that decoupling some of the interdependent testing has allowed certain tests to be completed at their own pace without impinging on the overall schedule.

   Changes made to the program in January extended flight testing and slowed development by about a year at an additional cost of $4.6 billion over the life of the program. Development and testing is on schedule to conclude in 2016.

   "The plan has been able to overcome parts shortages, engine delivery problems, and snow days where weather shut down production in the Dallas-Fort Worth area," he said.

   Venlet has instituted more testing, increasing the number of hours and flights that test pilots fly and the mandated number of test flights.

   "During the testing over the past 6-8 weeks the airplanes are beginning to talk to us," he said. "We've received some positive signs. We have done 30 vertical landings this year and have 530 flights under our belt." Venlet also reported that a Navy pilot flew the first Navy jet in early February and gave it a positive review. By 2016 the program is scheduled to complete 7,700 test flights.

   "For the mission systems we are early in the radar testing with SARS," Venlet said. "The pilots say it is best in class."

   Through it all, he continually reminds his team to retain a sense of "realism" about the development and testing and the requirements of the program.

   The U.S. Defense Department plans to purchase 325 aircraft through 2016, and the overall program consists of 2,443 total aircraft in three different variations for the Air Force, Navy, and Marines.


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John Porcari to Speak at

NAA April Luncheon

   Deputy Secretary of Transportation John D. Porcari will speak at the April 2011 NAA Luncheon on Tuesday, April 14, 2011.

   Porcari has served in his current position since June 1, 2009 and is the Department of Transportation (DOT) Chief Operating Officer with responsibility for the day-to-day operations of 10 modal administrations and the work of more than 55,000 DOT employees nationwide and overseas.

   Before becoming Deputy Secretary, Porcari served as Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation since January 2007, a position he also held between 1999 and 2003. In that role, he transformed the state's capital program for transportation to require all projects to be consistent with the principles of smart growth, overseeing the $1.4 billion expansion of Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, a plan to double transit ridership in the state by 2020, and a strategic plan for maritime commerce that resulted in contracts with long-term minimum tonnage guarantees at the Port of Baltimore.

   The luncheon will be held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott; the reception is at 11:30 a.m. and the luncheon runs from Noon-1:30 p.m. The cost is $60 per seat or $420 for a table of eight people. Click here to register.

   The luncheon series is strongly supported by several NAA Luncheon Series Season Table Holders, including The Boeing Company, Cobham, DRS Technologies, EADS North America, GE Aviation, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Rolls-Royce North America, UTC/Pratt & Whitney, Aurora Flight Sciences, and Curtiss-Wright Corporation.

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President's Message

Air Sports in America

      Small Jonathan

Most people that work in and around NAA here in Washington, DC generally focus on three of our four major areas of our responsibility - Records, Awards, and our Monthly Luncheon Program.

  The fourth area "Air Sports" is why NAA is recognized internationally as the National Aero Club of the United States. There are eight established Air Sport Organizations (ASOs) affiliated with NAA - The Balloon Federation of America, United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, Soaring Society of America, United States Parachute Association, Academy of Model Aeronautics, Helicopter Club of America, United States Ultralight Association, and the International Aerobatic Club.

   Together, they represent approximately 200,000 members in every state in our country.  As the United States Representative to the

F�d�ration A�ronautique Internationale (FAI), NAA is tasked with the responsibility of representing all Air Sports in the United States through these Air Sport Organizations.

   NAA's partnership with the U.S. Air Sport Organizations is an important one.  Our work with them is administrative, financial, and professional in nature.  The NAA President and NAA Director of Contest and Records serve (collectively) on the Boards of all U.S.  ASOs; Presidents/Executive Directors (or their designees) of the ASOs rotate serving on the NAA Board and the NAA Executive Committee; NAA provides guidance and support to the ASOs on regulatory and governmental issues as needed; NAA administers sporting licenses and records for ASO members; NAA assigns members designated by the ASOs as delegates to the FAI Commissions; and NAA administers the FAI international award nomination process in the United States, many of which are awarded for Air Sport activities.

   In addition, NAA includes senior ASO members on many of our award selection committees - including the Collier Trophy Selection Committee which meets March 14, 2011.  And NAA highlights air sport achievements and records at NAA Events; this has proven to be a very popular component of our events as it will be at this month's Spring Awards Ceremony highlighted in this issue.

   In summary, NAA works in many ways to support the ASOs and the work they do for Air Sports in the United States.



Jonathan Gaffney 

NAA President and CEO


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Air Sport Organization News

Martin Palmaz

USHPA Promotes Martin Palmaz

   Martin Palmaz has been promoted to Executive Director of the United States Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association (USHPA). He has worked at USHPA since 2005 and was previously Director of Business Operations.

   Palmaz started hang gliding in Kitty Hawk, NC at the age of 14. This interest evolved into flying sail planes during high school before finally settling on paragliding in 1996. He has been an avid paraglider pilot ever since and is currently rated P-4 and T-3. As the only pilot on the USHPA staff, he is able to bring a member's perspective to the office.

   "As a free-flight pilot of 15 years, I've been fortunate to meet a broad spectrum of members and look forward to interacting with more of you in the future to see how we can improve our sports," Palmaz said.


USUA Concerned About E-LSA Rules

   The United States Ultralight Association (USUA) is concerned that industry safety is at risk because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is not allowing a way for its own certified flight instructors (CFIs) to train in experimental light sport aircraft (E-LSAs).

   On January 31, 2010, the "final" deadline for transition to the Sport Pilot/Light Sport Aircraft rules passed. Until then, flight instructors were able to provide students primary training using E-LSA equipment. With the passing of the deadline, USUA reports that many CFIs will be forced out of the training business since it will not be financially viable for them to purchase newer S-LSA aircraft as is currently being demanded by the FAA.

   The resulting loss of practicing instructors will reduce opportunities for those wanting to learn to fly light sport aircraft as well as ultralight aircraft.

Click here for more information.


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Aero Club News

ACONE Celebrates Winter Icebreaker

   The Aero Club of New England (ACONE) celebrated its winter icebreaker on February 9, 2011 at the Papa Razzi in Burlington, MA. Members and friends raised a toast to aviation and enjoyed guest speaker Rich Jackson's presentation about flying the Piasecki X-49A. Jackson is currently home from flying tactical reconnaissance in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn.

   The Piasecki X-49 is a four-blade, twin-engine, experimental compound helicopter under development by Piasecki Aircraft. The X-49A utilizes Piasecki's proprietary vectored thrust ducted propeller (VTDP) design and includes the addition of lifting wings. The concept of the experimental program is to apply the VTDP technology to a production military helicopter to determine any benefit gained through increases in performance of useful load.


Aero Club of Northern California

Hosts Annual Crystal Eagle Dinner


Brian Shul proudly displays his Crystal Eagle Award

   Brian Shul, famed Mach-3 SR-71 Blackbird pilot and author of five aviation books, is the 28th recipient of the Crystal Eagle Award, presented annually by the Aero Club of Northern California (ACNC) to honor those whose achievements are among the highest in aviation. The Crystal Eagle Award was first presented by the Aero Club in 1983 to legendary aviator Gen. Jimmy Doolittle. The award was presented at ACNC's annual Crystal Eagle dinner at the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, CA.

   Shul spent 20 years as an Air Force pilot. He was critically burned in a crash during the Vietnam War but eventually returned to Air Force flight duty. His final Air Force assignment was flying the Mach 3 super-secret SR-71 Blackbird spy plane -- the fastest jet-powered aircraft ever built. Shul's most well-known book, "Sled Driver,'' recounts his experiences as pilot of the high-flying SR-71 in training and on missions over hostile nations.


Eddie Andreini accepts his NAA Certificate of Merit from Carl Honaker.

   Longtime air show pilot Eddie Andreini and retired aviation journalist Frank Sweeney received NAA Certificates of Merit at the dinner. Andreini, of Half Moon Bay, California, is an air show icon throughout the Western United States. For decades, he flew a Bulldog Stearman in aerobatics and in recent years added a World War II-type Russian Yak 9 fighter to his routines. Sweeney wrote about aviation and people who fly from 1968 until his retirement from the San Jose Mercury News in 2004. An aircraft pilot since 1974, he has logged flight time in 16 types of aircraft, and currently flies Citabrias and Cessnas.


Frank Sweeney and his wife Sharon proudly display Frank's NAA Certificate of Merit.

   Also at the dinner, four college or university aviation students were awarded $1,000 ACNC scholarships. The scholarship winners were Jason Dodd, Carlyn Smith, and Jason Utpadel, all students in the San Jose State University aviation program, and Tracy Zedeck, a student in the aviation program at the College of Alameda.

   ACNC also elected new officers at its Annual Meeting in Januay 2011. Sandra Clifford is now the President and Max Trescott is the new Vice President. Eric Peterson will continue as Treasurer, Jerry Bennett will fill in for Ray Hutchings as Secretary, and Frank Sweeney will continue as Newsletter Editor.


Delta's Ed Bastian Speaks at Atlanta Aero Club Meeting

   Delta Air Lines President Ed Bastian was the featured guest speaker at the regular bimonthly meeting of the Atlanta Aero Club (AAC) on February 16, 2011 at the Capital City Club in downtown Atlanta, GA. Bastian addressed the challenges Delta faces operating in a global economy.


Delta Air Lines President Ed Bastian (left) and Atlanta Aero Club President Steve Champness (right) with Gulfstream President Joe Lombardo (center) with the 2010 AAC Epps Award.

   Prior to his appointment as President, Bastian served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, positions he held beginning in 2005. In this role, he and his team oversaw and coordinated the company's strategy from network planning and revenue management to sales, marketing, and business development.

   It was also announced that Gulfstream Aerospace is the winner of the 2010 Atlanta Aero Club Epps Award and Gulfstream President Joe Lombardo was on hand to accepted the award on behalf of his company.


ACSC Members Accompany

Indy 500 Drivers on Morale Tour


Mario Andretti autographs a souvenir picture at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

   To lift troop morale, Aero Club of Southern California (ACSC) President Nissen Davis and member Tom Lee, two of the principals in the Morale Entertainment Foundation, recently took Indy 500 drivers including Mario Andretti, Johnny Rutherford, and Al Unser, Jr., to U.S. bases in Iraq, Bahrain, Turkey, Germany, and England and the aircraft carrier Eisenhower at sea.

Andretti car

Mario Andretti and his two seater Indy car get an "honor guard" from airmen at Incirclik Air Force Base, Turkey.

   An added attraction on the tour was the two-seat Indy race car that accompanied the visitors in their USAF KC-135 to give rides to troops at four of the bases. Last year, ACSC members took aerospace legends Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, Gene Cernan, Bob Gilliland, and Steve Ritchie to the region.

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In This Issue
NAA Spring Awards Ceremony
Venlet Speaks on JSF
Porcari to Speak at April Luncheon
President's Message
Air Sport Organization News
Aero Club News
Upcoming Events
Call for Nominations
Featured Member Orgs
Records Claimed
Featured Air Sport Org
NAA Credit Card

Upcoming Events

NAA Spring Awards Ceremony and Luncheon

Tuesday, March 15

11:30 Reception

Lunch at Noon

Crystal Gateway Marriott

Click here for details and registration.


NAA April Luncheon

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Featuring John D. Porcari, Deputy Secretary of Transportation

Click here for details and registration.


Collier Dinner

100th presentation of the Robert J. Collier Trophy

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Click here for details.

Call for Nominations

Katharine Wright Award

Last Call!!

Nominations close

March 31, 2011

The Katharine Wright Memorial Award is given annually to a woman who has contributed to the success of others or made a personal contribution to the advancement of the art, sport and science of aviation and space flight over an extended period of time. It is presented at The Ninety-Nines Annual Conference in the summer.

Click here for details.


FAI Awards

Nominations due to NAA by April 30

There are seven international awards for nomination. Click here for details on the awards and how to submit a nomination.

This month's featured member

Lockheed Martin
Northrup Grumman

Rolls Royce



Records Claimed
December 1 - 31, 2010




Speed Over a Recognized Course:

St. Louis, MO to St. Joseph, MO: 63.37 mph

Brian K. Kissinger

Class C-1.a, Group I (Internal Combustion)

Bowers Fly Baby

1 Continental A65



Speed Over a Recognized Course, Round Trip

St. Louis, MO to St. Joseph, MO (and return): 69.80 mph

Brian K. Kissinger

Class C-1.a, Group I (Internal Combustion)

Bowers Fly Baby

1 Continental A65



Speed Over a Recognized Course

Los Angeles, CA to Savannah, GA: 623.58 mph

William W. Dobbs & Ronald A. Newton

Class C-1.l, Group III (Jet)

Gulfstream G650

2 Rolls-Royce BR725



Speed Over a Commercial Airline Route

Newark, NJ to Bahrain:  

509 mph

Timothy Mead

Class C-1

Kalitta Air Boeing 747-400

This Month's
Air Sport Link
USUA logo 

NAA Credit Card

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