Garmin Founders To Be Honored In The National Aviation Hall of Fame


Garmin announced today (Oct. 19) that its co-founders, the late Gary Burrell and Dr. Min Kao (the company name is a conglomeration of their first names), have been named to the U.S. National Aviation Hall of Fame class of 2024. Enshrinees are chosen by a voting body of more than 130 aviation professionals nationwide. Founded in 1962, the NAHF was chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1964. Since then, more than 200 aviation luminaries have been honored with induction.

Cliff Pemble, Garmin president and CEO, said, “Gary Burrell [who passed away in 2019] and Min Kao co-founded Garmin in 1989 with a strong desire to enrich the lives of customers by bringing GPS technology to a broad range of markets, with a particular emphasis on aviation. They pioneered numerous award-winning products that brought disruptive innovation to the aviation industry. The innovation they championed nearly 35 years ago is foundational to Garmin’s success today as a leading global provider of avionics and active-lifestyle products.” Dr. Kao continues to serve as Garmin’s executive chairman.

Garmin lists its most noteworthy achievements as: the Garmin GPS 155 being certified in 1994 as the first GPS receiver to achieve FAA TSO-C129 Class A certification for instrument approaches; the Garmin GNS 430 and GNS 530 combining a panel-mount GPS with a color moving map in 1998; in 2004, the G1000 integrated flight deck entered service, becoming the leading integrated flight deck across a broad range of aircraft from single-engine pistons to business jets; and in 2020, the Robert J. Collier Trophy went to Garmin Autoland, the world’s first certified emergency, autonomous landing system.

The enshrinement ceremony for the 2024 class of NAHF inductees will be held in the fall of next year.

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. A “conglomeration” of words (or, I presume) names is known as a “portmanteau”. From the Oxford Languages dictionary:
    1. a large trunk or suitcase, typically made of stiff leather and opening into two equal parts.
    2. a word blending the sounds and combining the meanings of two others, for example motel (from ‘motor’ and ‘hotel’) or brunch (from ‘breakfast’ and ‘lunch’).
    “podcast is a portmanteau, a made-up word coined from a combination of the words iPod and broadcast”

    I might add “stabilator” as another example, horizontal STABILIZER and elevator.