Public Benefit Flying Awards presented

The National Aeronautic Association, in partnership with the Air Care Alliance, a nationwide league of humanitarian flying organizations, recently presented the 2013 National Public Benefit Flying Awards.

This year’s recipient for Distinguished Volunteer Pilot is Hank Stoebenau of Angel Flight East, “for demonstrating extraordinary commitment, generosity, and dedication to the mission of Angel Flight East for over 13 years by serving as a pilot, organizer, and board member.”

The Outstanding Achievement in Public Benefit Flying was presented to AERObridge “for creating a nationwide network of volunteer aircraft owners, operators, FBOs, and pilots willing to donate their time, effort, and funding for the alleviation of the suffering of those in need due to disaster or circumstance — all of which was put to use in their tremendous response in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.”

The Civil Air Patrol was also presented with this award, also in response to Hurricane Sandy, according to NAA and Air Care Alliance officials.

In the aftermath of the super storm, CAP “provided a remarkable level of support and information regarding damage, impact, and surveillance, which was crucial to the recovery efforts, as well as setting a new standard of service for future natural disasters,” officials noted.

The Public Benefit Flying Teamwork Award was presented to ORBIS and FedEx, “in recognition of their 30-year partnership in public benefit flying to fight blindness and vision impairment around the world through the use of flying eye hospitals and medical personnel which have aided more than 18 million people since the program’s inception.”

The first recipient of the Champion of Public Benefit Flying this year was the Air Safety Institute for its “Public Benefit Flying: Balancing Safety and Compassion” online course for increasing public benefit flying’s safety culture by helping volunteer pilots manage risk and avoid harm.

The second recipient was the Greater Washington Aviation Open, honored for its more than 25 years of fundraising efforts “to benefit organizations flying cancer patients, wounded warriors, and educating future aviation leaders while bringing the entire aviation community together “Fore a Great Time…Fore a Great Cause.”

“The recipients of the 2013 Public Benefit Flying Awards demonstrate again the diversity of public benefit flying in America and the many different people who benefit from it,” said NAA President and CEO Jonathan Gaffney.

“We honor these recipients not only for their own contributions but also because they represent all those others who fly patients for care, respond following disasters, provide educational flights for youth, protect our environment, help our veterans, and provide support in many other ways to those in need,” added Air Care Alliance Chairman Rol Murrow. “We truly enjoy working with NAA to celebrate these worthy individuals and groups.”

The Public Benefit Flying Awards were created to honor volunteer pilots, other volunteers, and the organizations engaged in flying to help others, and those supporting such work.

Since 2003, dozens of awards in the five categories have been presented at a celebratory “Above and Beyond” awards ceremony, held each fall in Washington, D.C.

Members of the 2013 Public Benefit Flying Selection Committee were Gaffney; Linda Daschle, LHD and Associates; Pete Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association; Karen Gebhart, vice president of business development, Helicopter Association International; and Lindy Kirkland, Rick Durden, and Judy Benjamin of the Air Care Alliance.

Information on the procedures to nominate someone for a 2014 Public Benefit Flying Award are online at or

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