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Milton Caniff Spirit of Flight Award

The National Aviation Hall of Fame is pleased to announce that the
Spirit of Flight Award is open for nominations.

Purpose: The Spirit of Flight Award is presented to recognize and reward aerospace organizations that exemplify the positive utilization of aviation for charitable purposes or for service to mankind.

Award Elements:  The award will be presented at a location and time jointly determined by the recipient and the NAHF.

Qualifications: Nominees must be an organization that demonstrates the impact of the positive utilization of aerospace resources to provide special services to individuals or to other organizations.  Although the award is presented annually, the accomplishments of the nominee need not be limited to the year in which the award is presented. 

The award recognizes:

  • Organizations with high standards for the excellence in the utilization of aerospace assets for positive outcomes.
  • Organizations that serve a special need of the nation.
  • Organizations that maintain a high degree of charitable or service activities over a sustained period of time.
  • Organizations that demonstrate creativity in developing and utilizing aerospace assets.
  • Organizations that have achieved national recognition for their contributions to the spirit of flight.
  • Preference will be given to volunteer and not-for-profit organizations.

Nomination Package Information:  Please provide the following nominee information.  Please keep in mind the selection criteria and attach any additional documentation and/or materials you choose to enhance your nomination.

  • Your personal letter describing why your nominee deserves to receive this award.
  • Honors and awards received by your nominee.
  • A 150 word description of your nominee’s Vision, Mission, and Goals.
  • A synopsis (250 words maximum) of your nominee’s accomplishments.
  • Documentation to support the nominee’s efforts.
  • Letters from others in support of your nominee.

Helpful Information:

  • Nomination packages may be submitted January 1 – June 10
  • Nominations should address ALL listed areas and criteria
  • Please do not submit packages in 3‐ring binders
  • Submissions will NOT be returned to the applicant
  • Should your nominee not be selected, you may resubmit with additional information for a following year.

Every effort will be made to notify the nominees of the results early August

To submit the nomination:

Mail the package to:
National Aviation Hall of Fame
ATT: Spirit of Flight Award
1100 Spaatz St.
Dayton, OH 45433


E-mail the package to:

Previous Winners


Martin-Baker Aircraft Company Limited  — 2019

Martin Baker has been a leader in ejection and crashworthy seats around the world.  From their early days developing and testing the company’s first prototypes to today knowing that they have saved over 7,600 people around the world, MBA’s existence provides pilots worldwide a primary added layer of safety.

U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence — 2018

The USAACE sets the standard for Army Aviation around the world.  From their early days with spotter aircraft to the critical use of versatile aircraft seen in use by the Army today, Army Aviation is a formidable opponent to those who threaten the American way of life

Aviation Career Enrichment — 2017

Founded in 1980 by Julius Alexander, serves to introduce and train young adults in various careers in aerospace.  While individuals from disadvantaged, at-risk and minority backgrounds are particularly served by ACE, the inclusive all-volunteer program provides any youth interested in aviation the opportunity to explore the services provided by the cutting edge program.

The Boeing Company — 2016

Founded on July 15, 1916, Boeing has been making the impossible, possible. From producing a single canvas-and-wood airplane to transforming how we fly over oceans and into the stars, The Boeing Company has become the world’s largest aerospace company.

Pioneers of Stealth – 2015

The Pioneers of Stealth is a cadre of government and contractor personnel who collectively pioneered the revolutionary discipline of low observable aircraft design, development, manufacture, test and operations.  Their work was instrumental to the successful development of the B-2, F-117, F-22, F-35 and other aircraft and systems relying on stealth technology, of which much remains classified today

EAA Young Eagles Program – 2014

Since 1992, the EAA Young Eagles Program has utilized a volunteer force of over 40,000 member/pilots to provide nearly two million young people ages 8 to 17 their first flight, for free, in the U.S. and over 100 countries.  In addition to their structured introduction and educational flight, ancillary programs and scholarships support young peoples’ interest in continuing their flying experience and exploring aviation career opportunities.

Women in Aviation, International – 2013

WAI began in 1990 and was formally established in 1994, providing resources to assist women professionals in aviation and to encourage young women to consider aviation as a career.  Its 9,000-plus members include corporate, commercial and military pilots;  astronauts;  airport managers;  air traffic controllers;  journalists;  students and more.  WAI additionally promotes public understanding of the accomplishments and contributions of women in aviation.

Honor Flight Network – 2012

The Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization that seeks to transport America’s veterans, at no cost to them, to Washington, D.C. to visit those memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices in WWII, the Korean and Vietnam wars.  Founded in 2005, Honor Flight is open to all men and women serving stateside or overseas and gives top priority to the most senior heroes – those who served in WWII.

US Navy Blue Angels – The US Navy’s Flight Demonstration Team – 2011

The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, popularly known as the Blue Angels, was formed in 1946 and is currently the oldest formal flying aerobatic team.  The mission of the Blue Angels has long been to enhance Navy and Marine Corps recruiting, to credibly represent Navy and Marine Corps aviation to America, and to serve as goodwill ambassadors internationally.  It is estimated that the Blue Angels have performed for than 427 million spectators worldwide since their inception 65 years ago.

National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) – 2010

Since its founding in 1947, NBAA has been the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful.  The association represents more than 8,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Annual Meeting and Convention, the world’s largest civil aviation trade show.

APOLLO Crews – 2009

Though we’ve not been back to the moon – yet, the accomplishments of the Apollo Astronauts did not cease on the distant lunar surface or in the vacuum of space.  These courageous adventurers are explorers in the truest sense.  They stretched our imagination, redefining the realm of possibility, lifting our spirits and gifting generations with inspiration, hope, and the wonder of it all.

X PRIZE Foundation – 2008
The X PRIZE Foundation incites innovation by tapping into our competitive and entrepreneurial skills, rather than awarding money to honor past achievements or directly funding research. An X PRIZE is a multi-million dollar award given to the first team to achieve a specific goal, set by the X PRIZE Foundation, which has the potential to benefit humanity.

Flying Physicians Association (FPA) – 2007
Physician pilots promoting safety, education and human interest projects relating to medicine and aviation while enjoying the fantasy of flight.

American Society of Aviation Artists (ASAA) – 2006
Dedicated to the improvement and public appreciation of aerospace art.

Whirly-Girls – 2005
The Whirly-Girls are dedicated to advancing professionalism in helicopters, while providing women helicopter pilots a forum for the exchange of information and opportunities.

Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA) – 2004
Aerospace Medical Association is the largest most-representative professional organization in the fields of aviation, space and enviromental medicine. AsMA membership includes aerospace medical specialists, scientists, flight nurses physiologist and researchers in the field.

State of Ohio – 2003
For its instumental role in the advancement of aviation.

American Eagle Squadrons – 2002
The 244 American pilots who voluntarily joined the Royal Air Force in the early years of World War II, the men of the 71st, 121st, and 133rd American Eagle Squadrons, became the highest scoring fighter group in the European Theater.

Society of Experiment Test Pilots – 2001
Association formed in1959 to support and promote the dangerous but essential work done by test pilots.

National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) – 2000
Founded in 1931 to ensure uniformity of safety measures, to standardize airport regulations and develop a truly national air transportation system responsive to local, state, and regional needs.

Flying Tigers/AVG – 1999
A volunteer group of very talented young men whose heroic efforts stemmed the tide of Imperial Japan’s aggression prior to America’s entry into World War II.

Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) – 1998
Founded in 1953 by a group of men interested in building their own aircrafts, the association has expanded to include all types of aircraft and aviation enthusiasts.

Air Force Association – 1997
AFA is an independent, nonprofit, civilian organization Promoting public understanding of aerospace power and the pivotal role it plays in defending America’s freedoms.

Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) – 1996
The first women trained to fly military aircraft, the WASPs flew training, ferrying, and a variety of other missions during WW II.

Air Crews of World War II – 1995
The pilots and crews of World War II whose aviation excellence defeated the German war machine and the Japanese Empire.

National Guard Bureau – 1994
Dual state and federal military force involved in both national security and response to emergencies at state level.

Doolittle Tokyo Raiders – 1993
The individuals involved in Jimmy Doolittle’s historic 1942 air raid on Tokyo, a definitive moral victory for a disheartened America.

Agricultural Aviation Industry – 1992
The pilots who serve to protect and promote America’s agricultural goods and service.

United Air Force Systems Command – 1991
Develops and delivers weapon systems to combat forces when and where they are needed.

United States Air Force Logistics Command – 1991
Ensures the readiness and sustainability of all Air Force weapon systems worldwide.

Voyager Mission Team – 1990
Voyager completed the first non-stop, around the world, non-refueled mission on December 23, 1986.

Tuskegee Airmen – 1990
America’s first contingent of African-American fighter pilots, who performed heroically during WW II.

Confederate Air Force (now known as the Commemorative Air Force) – 1989
An organization that is singularly chartered to preserve in flying condition an example of every combat aircraft that flew during WWII.

Civil Air Patrol – 1988
Founded in 1941, CAP is the auxiliary wing of the United States Air Force and, as such, performs the majority of the aircraft search and rescue operations in the continental United States.

Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager (Voyager) – 1987
The Voyager mission completed the first nonstop, non-refueled flight around the world on December 13, 1986.

Mercury Astronauts – 1986
The first seven men selected to be astronauts and to “test fly” America’s first spacecraft.

NASA – 1986
The National Aeronautic and Space Administration, founded in 1959.

Canadian Snowbirds – 1985
The Royal Canadian Air Force’s elite nine-man aerobatic team.

Ninety-Nines – 1984
Founded in 1929 by 99 licensed women pilots for the mutual support and advancement of aviation, and of the role of women in aviation.

Double Eagle II – 1983
The first crew of balloonists to successfully cross the Atlantic Ocean, arriving near Paris on August 17, 1978.

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association – 1982
The largest, most influential aviation association in the world, focusing on advocacy, enlightened leadership, technical competence, and hard work.

USAF Thunderbirds – 1981
The Air Force demonstration team that emphasizes USAF technology and aerial skill.