Whitman has been named the first recipient of the trophy created as a tribute to his “significant contributions to the aerospace industry over the past 60 years, as well as his dedication to educating millions about the legacy of our military,” according to NAA officials.
The Bruce Whitman Trophy will be awarded to “… outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to aviation or aerospace in the United States, and who by working with museums and other institutions have promoted an appreciation by students and the broader public of the sacrifices and legacy of members of the military service.”
A nominee will be put forth annually by the chairman of the National Aeronautic Association to the Executive Committee of NAA for confirmation by majority vote.
“Bruce will be sorely missed by the thousands he has touched,” said Jim Albaugh, NAA Chairman. “Over the years, he gave generously of his time to promote and remember the sacrifices of our military. This trophy is meant to honor his legacy, and to recognize individuals who have provided like service to aerospace and our country.”
After graduating from Trinity College in 1955, Whitman was commissioned a lieutenant in the United States Air Force and earned the triple ratings of pilot, navigator, and bombardier serving the Strategic Air Command. In 1957, he was appointed assistant to the Commander at Homestead Air Force Base and flew B-25s in administrative support. After active duty, Whitman attended George Washington University Law School for two years and flew as a captain for East Coast Flying Service and was a pilot in the Air Force Reserve.
Whitman joined FlightSafety International in 1961 as assistant to the President after two years as senior executive assistant with the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). In 1962 he was promoted to Executive Vice President and was named CEO in 2003.
Under Whitman’s leadership, FlightSafety transformed into a leading professional aviation training company and supplier of flight simulators, visual systems, and displays to commercial, government, and military organizations. The company provides more than 1.4 million hours of training each year to pilots, technicians, and other aviation professionals from 167 countries around the world.
Whitman’s dedication to the aerospace industry “is only matched by his selflessness in seeking to use his time and talents for the betterment of his country and the world at large,” NAA officials noted.
“Whitman worked tirelessly to perpetuate the legacy of the Medal of Honor and support the objectives, programs, and activities of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation,” NAA officials said in introducing the new trophy. “He was dedicated to educating and inspiring young people about the values embodied in the Medal of Honor helping them to understand and appreciate the sacrifices made by those who serve to protect our freedoms.”
NAA will present the Bruce Whitman Trophy to Whitman’s family and colleagues at the NAA Fall Awards Dinner, with a date and location to be announced.
NAA is the caretaker of some of the most important aviation awards in the world and certifies all national aviation records set in the United States.