California general aviation advocate Elliott Sanders has been named the 2015 winner of the Laurence P. Sharples Perpetual Award, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s (AOPA) highest honor for individuals.
It is presented annually to those who have made the most significant contributions to the advancement of general aviation, which characterized the life of Laurence P. Sharples, one of AOPA’s founding fathers and its first chairman.
Elliot Sanders, AOPA’s Airport Support Network volunteer at Van Nuys Airport, an active private pilot, and the owner of PAB Insurance Solutions, received his award from Dawn Veatch, AOPA senior director of government affairs March 2 in a ceremony and reception at the Van Nuys Airport.
For more than a decade, Sanders participated in the effort AOPA pursued with other general aviation advocates to protect piston-aircraft pilots’ access to the airport while the growth of other aviation segments was encroaching on GA.
Sanders was also instrumental in developing The Park at Van Nuys, a 30-acre propeller aircraft facility, which will include a terminal, maintenance services, flight schools, a restaurant, a self-service fuel station, and an aircraft wash rack.
“For the past 10 years, Mr. Sanders devoted significant time and resources to ensuring that general aviation piston aircraft would continue to have a home on Van Nuys Airport,” said AOPA’s Veatch. “He worked with officials at Los Angeles World Airport (LAWA) and other interested parties to promote the dedicated piston prop-park on that parcel of land. Some of these challenges could have caused the project to fail had it not been for Mr. Sanders’s leadership,” she said.