Ed Bolen, CEO of NBAA, has celebrated young business aviation professionals while honoring the legacy of female pilots on day two of the ongoing NBAA-BACE event in Orlando, FL.
The event began with recognition of NBAA’s inaugural class of the Business Aviation Top 40 under 40. More than 300 aviation professionals under the age of 40 were nominated in several categories, including pilots, technicians, schedulers, business management and more.
“We are very proud of our 40 under 40,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen, introducing a video featuring the young professionals chosen as the top 40 aviation professionals in their field today.
These professionals “aim higher and strive to achieve greatness. By embracing and empowering the next generation, we can all soar to great heights together,” according to the video.”
Bolen then honored aviation’s past in presenting NBAA’s Meritorious Service to Aviation Award to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) for their service to the country during World War II. WASP members flew more than 60 million miles, delivered more than 12,000 aircraft and operated 70 types of aircraft during the war.
Three women who served in the WASP – Kay Hilbrandt, Bernice “Bee” Haydu and Shirley Chase Kruse – were recognized through enthusiastic applause and a standing ovation. Erin Miller, granddaughter of WASP Elaine Harmon, received the award on behalf of the WASPs.
Miller was instrumental in securing burial rights at Arlington National Cemetery, where her grandmother rests today.
“I was struck not just by their service in the war but what they have been doing since they served,” said Miller. “They continue to be active in aviation and contribute to their communities.”