The 2017 Robert J. Collier Trophy, awarded annually by the National Aeronautic Association for the “greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America,” goes to Cirrus Aircraft, the association announced on Wednesday. The award recognizes the company for “designing, certifying, and entering-into-service the Vision Jet — the world’s first single-engine general aviation personal jet aircraft with a whole airframe parachute system.” Dale Klapmeier, CEO and co-founder at Cirrus, said the company is “honored and humbled” by the award. He dedicated the award to all the employees and partners who contributed to the airplane’s development, production and delivery. “We will celebrate this great honor by continuing to focus on our core mission of creating safer aircraft, safer pilots and safer skies,” he said.
The Vision Jet was certified by the FAA in 2016. The cabin accommodates five adults and two children, and the cockpit features the Cirrus Perspective Touch by Garmin flight deck. Past recipients of the Collier trophy, first awarded in 1911, include Orville Wright, Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 team, Chuck Yeager and the Bell X-1, the Boeing 747, Gulfstream 650, Blue Origin and many more aviators, scientists and engineers whose work has helped aviation to progress. Other nominees for this year included the Perlan Project’s high-altitude glider, the 737 Max, and an autonomous helicopter system. The trophy will be formally presented at a dinner hosted by the NAA on June 14, at a location to be announced. AVweb’s Paul Bertorelli flew the jet last year; click here for his analysis.