Clay Lacy to receive Howard Hughes Memorial Award

Distinguished as one of the most versatile pilots in the history of powered flight, aviation icon Clay Lacy will be honored by the Aero Club of Southern California with its prestigious Howard Hughes Memorial Award on Wednesday, Feb. 8. Famed test and aerobatic pilot Bob Hoover will present the award in recognition of Lacy’s achievements spanning over six decades.

Lacy is a world-renowned pilot who first took to the air at age 8 while growing up in the farmland of Wichita, Kansas, during the Great Depression. Now age 79, he has spent almost every day of his life around airplanes. In 1964, Lacy introduced the first Learjet to Van Nuys Airport (VNY) near Hollywood’s burgeoning entertainment industry. Four years later, he founded the first jet charter company west of the Mississippi, launching a new era in corporate air transportation and mobility.

An airline captain, experimental test pilot, air race champion, aviation record-setter, aerial cinematographer, philanthropist and entrepreneur, Lacy has accumulated more hours flying jets than anyone on Earth and is widely credited with revolutionizing the business aviation and aerial photography industries. Among his nearly 3,000 film projects are Top Gun, Flight of the Intruder and The Great Santini. He is an inductee to the National Aviation Hall of Fame and the recipient of many other prestigious awards.

The Aero Club is a non-profit association founded in 1925 to increase awareness of aviation and to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to aviation and aerospace. Lacy is the 33rd annual award recipient. Past honorees include Jack Northrop, Jimmy Doolittle, Neil Armstrong, Chuck Yeager and Simon Ramo. More than 200 aviation and aerospace luminaries, leaders and enthusiasts are expected to attend.

For more information: 310-331-1551 or


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