Washington, DC, September 24, 2013 – The National Aeronautic Association announced today that Marion Blakey has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy.
NAA established this award in 1948 to honor the memory of Orville and Wilbur Wright. The trophy is awarded annually to a living American for “…significant public service of enduring value to aviation in the United States.”
Walter Boyne, Chairman of the National Aeronautic Association and a member of the Selection Committee, praised the choice. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the selection of Marion Blakey for the Wright Trophy,” Boyne said. “She has been a public servant of the highest order and one of the leading advocates of our nation’s aerospace industry.”
Since 2007, Marion Blakey has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Aerospace Industries Association, the voice of the aerospace and defense industry. Before that, she served a five-year term as Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. As Administrator, Blakey regulated the nation’s airways as well as operated the world's largest air traffic control system consisting of 44,000 employees and a $14 billion budget. During her tenure, the traveling public experienced the safest period for air travel in United States' history, and she was a tireless safety advocate, internationally. Under her leadership, FAA launched the Next Generation Air Transportation System − the shift to a satellite-based system that will modernize air transportation, save fuel, and decrease delays.
Prior to being named FAA Administrator, Blakey served as Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. During her tenure, she led a number of accident investigations, including the 2001 crash of American Airlines flight 587 - dealing with both the highly technical aspects of the investigation as well as the tremendous public interest in the accident. Blakey improved the Board's accident reporting process and strengthened its advocacy and outreach programs to promote safer travel throughout all modes of transportation.
Including her service at the FAA and NTSB, Blakey has held six presidential appointments, four of which required Senate confirmation. From 1992 to 1993, Blakey served as Administrator of the U.S. Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is dedicated to achieving the highest standards of excellence in motor vehicle and highway safety. As the nation's leading highway safety official, she was charged with reducing deaths, injuries, and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes. Prior to her service at NHTSA, she held key positions at the Department of Commerce, the Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the White House, and the Department of Transportation.
“The long list of recipients of this most historic award reflects the diversity of leadership of our nation’s aviation and aerospace industry,” said Jonathan Gaffney, President and CEO of NAA and Chairman of the Selection Committee. “Over its 65-year history, the Wright Trophy has been awarded to industrialists, explorers, innovators, and public servants. Ms. Blakey has joined a remarkable group of Americans.”
In addition to Mr. Boyne and Mr. Gaffney, members of the Selection Committee were:
- Jim Albaugh, President, American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics
- Major General Charles F. Bolden, Jr., USMC, (Ret.)
- Wes Bush, Chairman, Aerospace Industries Association
- Nicholas Calio, President and CEO, Airlines for America
- David Castelveter, President, Aero Club of Washington
- Kerry Lynch, Senior Editor for Aviation Week/Weekly of Business Aviation
- Robert Stevens (Wright Trophy Recipient – 2012)
Ms. Blakey will be presented with the award at the Wright Memorial Dinner hosted by the Aero Club of Washington on Friday, December 13, 2013. For more information on the award, please visit www.naa.aero. For more information on the Wright Memorial Dinner, please visit www.aeroclub.org.