Charles Bolden To Be Awarded Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy


The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) has announced that Major General Charles Bolden, USMC (Ret.), has been selected to receive the 2020 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy. Chosen for “his impassioned commitment to public service in aviation and aerospace as an aviator, astronaut, and leader and his dedication to excellence for the advancement of all humanity,” he joins prior recipients such as Charles Lindbergh, Jimmy Doolittle, Neil Armstrong and Bob Hoover. The trophy will be awarded at the 73rd Annual Wright Memorial Dinner on Dec. 17, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

“The Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy is our greatest individual honor,” said NAA President Greg Principato. “When you take into account Charlie Bolden’s career and commitment, he truly embodies what this award is meant to recognize. In every aspect of his career he has served causes and missions greater than himself. His example will inspire future generations.”

A graduate of the Naval Academy and the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, Bolden flew over 100 combat missions during the Vietnam War and went on to fly as a test pilot on aircraft including the A-6E, EA-6B and A-7C/E. During his active military career, he logged more than 6,000 hours flight time. Bolden also spent 14 years as a NASA astronaut, traveling to space four times as part of the agency’s Space Shuttle program. From 2009 to 2017, he served as NASA’s Administrator. Bolden’s military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross, and among civilian awards he has received are the National Space Trophy, Nierenberg Prize, Carl Sagan Award and National Air and Space Museum Trophy.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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    • As per NAA, it’s the 2020 award. They postponed 2020 and cancelled the 2021 award due to COVID leading to the presentation of the 2020 award this year.