WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) has revealed the recipients of the 2015 Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award: Harold “Buck” Adams, Bill Boisture, Patrick Epps, Ken Gazzola, Allan McArtor, and Jay Pardee.
The Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award, established in 1954 by the board of directors of the National Aeronautic Association, honors “outstanding Americans who, by their efforts over an extended period of years, have made contributions of significant value to aeronautics and have reflected credit upon America and themselves.”
Brigadier General Harold “Buck” Adams, USAF (retired), is a command pilot with more than 3,500 flying hours, including 127 combat missions. In 1974 he set a world speed record in the SR-71 Blackbird, flying from London to Los Angeles in 3 hours and 47 minutes. The record still stands today, and the record-breaking aircraft serves as the centerpiece in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center.
After his career in the USAF, Adams served as the director of the North American Aerospace Defense Planning Staff and participated in many of the advancements in our national space communications infrastructure at Cheyenne Mountain. He currently pursues the research and development of novel aircraft propulsion systems in concert with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.
For over 30 years, Bill Boisture has been a leader in the aeronautical industry serving in both military and commercial aviation. A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, he served as a fighter pilot in the Air Force before being honorably discharged as a major after 11 years of service. He is the former president and CEO of Hawker Beechcraft; former president of NetJets, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, British Aerospace Corporate Jets, and Landmark Aviation; and the former chairman and CEO of Butler Aviation.
He has served on the board of directors for the Association of Graduates of the Air Force Academy, is a trustee of the Falcon Foundation, and is a member of World Presidents’ Organization. He also serves on the board of Landmark Aviation, is a past Chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), and was a board member of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).
Pat Epps is the founder and owner of EPPS Aviation at Peachtree DeKalb Airport, which operates one of the largestFBOs in the southeast United States. The former Air Force pilot and Boeing flight test engineer regularly flies his aerobatic Bonanza in airshows and has performed his signature aerobatic flight routine in front of thousands of spectators.
He is perhaps best known for leading an 11-year quest to recover the Lost Squadron, a group of P-38s and B-17s forced to land on an ice cap in Greenland during World War II. In 1992 he succeeded in retrieving a Lockheed P-38 Lightning (now known as “Glacier Girl”) buried beneath a 265 foot ice cap.
Ken Gazzola is the president and CEO of Flight Logix, former executive vice president of The McGraw-Hill Companies, and former publisher of Aviation Week & Space Technology. He is also the former president of the Wings Club of New York and currently chairs the club’s Historical and Educational Committee. As a resident of Northern Virginia, he serves as a member of the board of the Washington Airports Task Force and is a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. Gazzola is also an active board member at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum.
Allan McArtor’s passion for aviation and science began with his decorated career in the U.S. Air Force, which helped to propel him to a coveted slot flying with the Thunderbirds Aerial Demonstration Team. In 1979, he joined Federal Express, serving first as the senior vice president of telecommunications and then as senior vice president of air operations.
McArtor left FedEx from 1987 to 1989 to accept the appointment of President Ronald Reagan as head of the FAA. In 2001, he joined Airbus Americas as chairman and in 2013 was selected as CEO and chairman of Airbus Group.
McArtor is also a member of the board of directors for over 15 professional and civic organizations. In 2014, he was inducted into the Living Legends of Aviation to honor his significant contributions to aviation.
Jay Pardee dedicated nearly five decades of public service to the FAA and significantly improved aviation safety in the United States. His passion to develop practical steps to increase flight safety brought the FAA from a reactive environment to one that can perform proactive safety management and mitigate risk before problems occur.
Pardee’s association and work with the United States Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) attributed to an 83% reduction of the risk of a fatal air carrier accident, resulting in two consecutive years of no commercial scheduled airline fatalities. In recognition of this accomplishment, NAA awarded CAST the Robert J. Collier Trophy in 2008. Pardee passed away on June 12, 2015, leaving a great legacy of leadership, innovation, and passion for enhancing flight safety.
The Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Awards will be presented at NAA’s Fall Awards Ceremony on Dec. 3 in Arlington, Virginia.