The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association will honor several pioneers in aviation and aviation safety during its virtual fifth-annual AOPA R.A. “Bob” Hoover Trophy Award presentation on February 3. The celebration will take place virtually this year.
The event, which is typically limited to 200 people and takes place in the historic Terminal A at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C., is free and open to everyone through the livestream.
Famed aerodynamicist Burt Rutan, who designed Voyager, the first aircraft to make a nonstop, non-refueled circumnavigation in 1986, and SpaceShipOne, which made three successful suborbital spaceflights in 2004, will be honored with the prestigious R. A. “Bob” Hoover Trophy Award. Rutan has designed 49 manned aircraft, 25 of which the public can view in museums worldwide; 17 are still flying. The first trophy was presented to Hoover himself in 2016, Sean D. Tucker in 2017, Harrison Ford in 2018, and Clay Lacy in 2019.
AOPA will also present the inaugural Brigadier General Charles E. McGee Aviation Inspiration Award to retired Brig. Gen. Charles McGee, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen. In addition to honoring McGee with the first award, AOPA will also present it to its second recipient, U.S. Air Force Maj. Kenyatta Ruffin, an F–16 pilot and commander of the 71st Operations Support Squadron. Ruffin founded the nonprofit Legacy Flight Academy, which helps youth discover their passion for aviation careers and hosts programs that draw upon the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.
AOPA Air Safety Institute Senior Vice President Richard McSpadden will present the GA Safety Award to Boris Popov, founder of BRS Aerospace. The company’s whole-aircraft parachute rescue system has saved more than 400 lives; more than 35,000 systems have been installed on experimental, sport, certified, and military aircraft. The award honors those who “have delivered exceptional performance in safety to benefit the entire general aviation industry.”
Tune into the livestream at 8 p.m. Eastern on February 3, 2021!