National Building Museum
401 F. St. NW, Washington, DC 20001
Since 1962 the National Aviation Hall of Fame has inducted over 250 of the nation’s premier air and space pioneers into the organization. Our Enshrinees are the who’s who in the world of aviation including Bessie Coleman, Charles Lindbergh, Kelly Johnson, William Boeing, Joe Engle, and Sally Ride.
At our annual Enshrinement, you can be among some of the heroes already recognized and celebrate with us the heroes yet to come. Join us for this exclusive and exciting evening widely known as the ‘Oscar Night of Aviation.”
09/22/2023 6:00 pm
Countdown to Enshrinement
Meet The Class of 2023
Two iconic history-making pilots, two groundbreakers in aviation policy, and two NASA astronauts, are all included in this remarkable group.
Born in Virginia in 1917, Benn first learned to fly in 1942.
She joined the WASPs in 1944 and trained in Texas before being assigned to Merced Army Airfield in California. Benn would spend her time ferrying pilots and planes around the country.
After her time in the WASPs, Benn worked as a military flight instructor near Washington, D.C., training America’s next generation of aviators.
Benn became a partner for Aviation Film Services and scripted military training films, flying various aircraft. During her service, Benn became the first woman to land on an aircraft carrier.
Velta is highly regarded for her safety in the air and on the ground. She was the first woman to teach AOPA safety clinics in 1968. Benn never lost her flying spirit; over a lifetime of flying, she accumulated 55,000 hours aloft.
Cornelius Coffey (Pilot, Inventor, Civil Rights Activist)
Born in Arkansas in 1903, Coffey was an early champion of African American aviation and inventor of the Carburetor Heater.
While employed as an auto mechanic, Coffey applied and was accepted at the Curtiss Wright School of Aviation for an aviation mechanics course. Upon reporting to class, he was denied entry.
After the threat of legal action, the school admitted Coffey. Two years later, he graduated at the top of his class.
Coffey would later establish his Coffey School of Aeronautics at Harlem Airport, Chicago. The school trained many of the men that would become Tuskegee Airmen.
Coffey was the first African American to hold a pilot’s and mechanics license and aeronautic school. His efforts led to the integration of black pilots into the American aviation industry.
Angela Gittens (Airport Business Leader, FAA Advocate)
Gittens is regarded as one of the world’s leaders in airport management. Gittens was CEO of the world’s busiest airport, Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson Airport.
She led the airport during a significant transition in the 1990s and during the 1996 Summer Olympics.
During her time, Gittens oversaw the modernization of air travel into the 21st century. Helping create new policies on security, passenger safety, and hiring standards, improving air travel, and making travel safer.
From 2008-2020, Angela served as Director General of ACI World (Airport Council International). She worked to unite airports and develop partnerships to improve airport performance in safety, security, environmental stewardship, and customer service further.
Gittens would also lend her expertise to many other projects in aviation, including the FAA management advisory committee, FAA Research, Engineering, and Development committee, and the JetBlue Airways Board of Directors.
Fred Haise (Aviator, Astronaut, Aeronautical Engineer)
Haise’s aviation career began in 1952 when he entered Naval Aviation Training without prior aviation experience—graduating as a Naval Aviator in the USMC. He served in VMF 114 and VMF 533 and as an instructor in Navy Advanced Training Command.
After his time in the Marines, Haise flew with the Oklahoma Air National Guard while attending the University of Oklahoma for Aeronautical Engineering, graduating in 1959.
Haise joined NASA in 1959 as a Research Pilot at NASA Lewis Research Center and NASA Flight Research Center before joining the Astronaut Office in 1966. He was assigned as a backup crewman on Apollo Missions 8, 11, and 16 and flew as the Lunar Module Pilot on the incredible Apollo 13 Mission. He worked in the Orbiter Project Office in early Space Shuttle development and was subsequently assigned as Commander of one of the Space Shuttle Enterprise crews for the 1977 Approach and Landing tests.
After departing NASA in 1979, Haise served as Vice President of Space Programs and President of Northrop Grumman Technical Services.
Edward Stimpson (Aviation Administrator, Industry Advocate)
Born in Washington in 1934, “Ed” Stimpson graduated from Harvard University in 1956 and the University of Washington in 1959 with a master’s in public administration.
Stimpson became the first General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) President in 1970. He accumulated a lifelong list of achievements during his 26 years of service.
During his time, he pioneered the “TAKEOFF” program, a three-year industry effort to recruit new student pilots. As a result, the sale of general aviation aircraft jumped tenfold in the following years.
Stimpson played a prominent role in championing propeller-driven aircraft’s continued production as jet, and turbo-jet aircraft began dominating the general aviation market.
As a trustee of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Stimpson was responsible for the expansion of both Embry-Riddle Campuses and for the four-year accreditation of the university.
Kathryn Sullivan (Astronaut, Scientist, Educator)
Born in New Jersey in 1951, Kathryn Sullivan is the first American woman to walk in space served as the Mission Specialist on STS-31, the shuttle mission that launched the Hubble Space Telescope.
Her 2020 Dive to the deepest point in the ocean, the Challenger Deep, earned her three Guinness World Records. Including the most vertical person in the world, the first person to both fly in space and reach the deepest point, and the first woman to dive to the Challenger Deep.
Sullivan received her bachelor’s degree in Earth Sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a doctorate in geology from Dalhousie University in 1978.
She joined NASA in 1978, joining NASA Group 8, the first NASA group to include women, and making her first trip into space aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1984.
Dr. Sullivan returned to space in 1990 aboard the “Discovery” with mission goals to deploy the Hubble Space Telescope and again in 1992 aboard the “Atlantis” to conduct multiple tests on human activity in Earth’s atmosphere.
In 1992, she was Payload Commander for the Atlas-1 space mission, studying the physics and chemistry of the upper atmosphere.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed her Chief Scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In 1996, after departing NOAA, Sullivan became the President and CEO of COSI of Columbus, Ohio. Sullivan built the museum’s new facility, expanded the audience, membership, and fundraising, and partnered in launching the Metro School, an early career science high school serving central Ohio.
She returned to Federal Service at NOAA in 2011, first as Assistant Secretary/Deputy Administrator (2011-2-13), and then as Under Secretary/Administrator (2013-2017).
Partnership – Become an Enshrinement Sponsor
Your generosity through partnership comes with exclusive benefits and a marketing reach that will place your company or service in front of the industry’s biggest decision-makers, from CEOs and executives to aviation and aerospace heroes. Being a partner at a NAHF Enshrinement is always an exclusive, exciting, and uplifting experience as we take a moment to gather, recognize, and publicly salute our nation’s aviation pioneers.
Become An Enshrinement Sponsor
If you have questions or an interest in an exclusive sponsorship opportunity, please contact Aimee Maruyama, at [email protected] or call 937-256-0044, ext. 11
The Enshrinement is intended for all! We welcome NAHF members, donors, funding partners, and others who have an interest in celebrating the amazing accomplishments of our Enshrinees and supporting the NAHF.
We will follow all current state and local public health orders and recommendations at the Enshrinement. If you are feeling unwell or experiencing Covid symptoms, please refrain from attending the Enshrinement in-person and contact Meagan Scharrer, [email protected] to discuss ticket options.