National Aviation Hall of Fame reveals names of four in Enshrinee “Class of 2017”

Inductees’ contributions span the dawn of the jet age through U.S. manned space programs

Announcement made at NBAA Convention

(Orlando, FL – November 2, 2016)  Today the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) publicly revealed the names of four individuals elected as the Enshrinee Class of 2017, each of whom will be inducted at a formal ceremony next fall.  NAHF Enshrinement Director Ron Kaplan, accompanied by several former enshrinees and the Great Grand-niece of Orville and Wilbur Wright, made the announcement before an audience of nearly 1,000 attendees at a special session of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Convention in Orlando, Florida.

The announcement followed the presentation of the NAHF’s 2016 Combs Gates Award, a $20,000 cash prize, to author David McCullough for his book, “The Wright Brothers.”

The NAHF Class of 2017 represents a broad range of enduring contributions dating from the dawn of the jet age through the manned exploration of space.  The four will be formally enshrined at a venue and on a 2017 date to be announced by the NAHF soon.  The Class of 2017 is:

  • Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr., USMC (Ret) –34 year Marine Corps aviation career included 14 years as member of NASA Astronaut Corps.  Vietnam War fighter pilot and four-time Shuttle veteran who went on to become NASA Administrator.
  • The late Cmdr. Malcolm Scott Carpenter, USN – Navy test pilot that as one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts became the second American to orbit the earth.  Helped design the Apollo lunar module and developed underwater training for spacewalks.
  • Robert J. Gilliland –Air Force jet fighter and test pilot personally recruited by Kelly Johnson to lead Lockheed Skunk Works testing of its record-breaking SR-71 spy plane.  Has logged more test-flight hours above Mach 3 than any other pilot.
  • The late Sir Frank Whittle – U.K.-based “Founder of the Jet Age,” who built the first practical turbojet engine in 1937.  Sir Whittle’s subsequent engine technology led directly to development of the jet aircraft industry in the U.S., to which Sir Whittle immigrated in 1976.

Each year, the NAHF Board of Nominations, a voting body comprised of 140-plus aviation professionals nationwide, selects a handful of previously nominated air and space pioneers to be recognized for their achievements with enshrinement into the NAHF.  Since its founding in 1962, 233 men and women have been so honored.

The 55th Annual NAHF Enshrinement Dinner & Ceremony is open to the public and reservations will be available by advance purchase from the NAHF.

The NAHF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in Dayton, Ohio in 1962 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1964.  Its mission is to honor America’s aerospace legends to inspire future leaders, which it does through a 17,000 square-foot public Learning Center featuring interactive exhibits, a youth education program, other public outreach programs, its annual enshrinement ceremony, and collaboration with like-minded organizations.

For more information visit the NAHF at NBAA booth #4329, the website at, or call 937-212-8847.

Media Contact:

Ron Kaplan, NAHF Enshrinement Director

TEL: (937) 256-0944 x16

CELL: (937) 212-8847

[email protected]

“Honoring Aerospace Legends to Inspire Future Leaders”