ADS-B Wins Collier Trophy

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And the winner is ... a work in progress. The National Aeronautic Association held its annual awards luncheon Thursday and, while historically the winner of the Collier Trophy is a person or an airplane, this year it was largely a concept. Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) was the winner of the award generally recognized as the epitome of aviation innovation and excellence. However, as a functioning tool in the grand aviation scheme, ADS-B is in its infancy and, as the cornerstone of the FAA’s NextGen airspace management system, the jury is still out on just how its implementation will play out over the next few decades. "Like all of aviation, things are changing. Processes and projects are becoming worthy of nomination," said NAA President Jonathan Gaffney.

For the record, the Collier Trophy is awarded for “the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year,” according to the NAA Web site. Other nominees may have more closely resembled those criteria. The other nominees included the Dassault Aviation Falcon 7X -- "the world's first civil aircraft to be designed in a totally virtual environment"; Commercial Aviation Safety Team -- "dramatically improving the safety of commercial aviation and saving lives in the US and around the world"; Epic Air Team VLJ -- "delivering from clean-sheet to flight their vision of a high performance, cutting edge VLJ in six months"; Airbus A380 -- "benchmark improvements in performance, efficiency, safety and environmental impact for new aircraft design"; and SBIRS/HEO Test and On-Orbit Operations Team -- "extraordinary achievement in space vehicle performance and efficiency."

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