2018 Awards


The 2018 National Public Benefit Flying Awards

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) and the Air Care Alliance (ACA) have created a set of national awards designed to recognize the contributions of those individuals in aviation who fly and volunteer for the benefit of others, public benefit flying organizations, and those who support them.

Aviation Volunteers Honored for Public Benefit Flying
November 27, 2018 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott
in Arlington, Virginia

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA), in partnership with the Air Care Alliance (ACA), a nationwide league of humanitarian flying organizations, is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 Public Benefit Flying Awards. These awards were created to honor volunteer pilots, other volunteers, and organizations engaged in flying to help others, as well as those supporting such work.

This year’s recipients are:

photo of recipients, families, and friendsRecipients, Families, and Friends

Distinguished Volunteer Pilot:

Earning her first of many pilot certificates in 1975, Merry Schroeder is one of LightHawk’s longest serving volunteers, donating 387 flights since 1987 in some of the most challenging conditions faced by conservation volunteer pilots. She also donated 215 flights with Angel Flight from 2003 to 2017.

Merry remains an active LightHawk volunteer pilot, and has also served as a board member, donor, and community representative.

Distinguished Volunteer:

As members of the Civil Air Patrol’s National Radar Analysis Team, Lt Col John Henderson and 2nd Lt Argon Helm developed and oversaw two new software programs -“The Sandbox”, which allows emergency managers to view a live radar feed for search and rescue efforts and “ICARUS,” which uses computer algorithms to predict when aircraft have crashed.

Their efforts have tremendously improved the speed and accuracy of national, state, and local authorities to locate missing aircraft. Lt Col Henderson has also worked on 315 missing aircraft missions resulting in 198 finds and 20 saves.

Outstanding Achievement in Advancement of Public Benefit Flying:

Joe Howley turned his passion and business success into a vehicle for raising awareness for charitable aviation. With his support and connections, Patient Airlift Services (PALS) has engaged pilots to fly, garnered financial support, and established relationships with partnering organizations, all in the name of furthering the benefits of Public Benefit Flying.

Photo of smiling audience members

Members of the 2018 Public Benefit Flying Selection Committee were Stephen Danz, 2015 Distinguished Volunteer Pilot; Linda Daschle, President of LHD & Associates, Inc; Rick Durden, Air Care Alliance; and Jane Nicolai, 2015 Distinguished Volunteer Pilot.

Audience and stage at awards dinner event

To enjoy the stories and photos of recipients for other years visit our Awards page by using the button at left, or http://www.aircarealliance.org/awards-program-0

For more information about the National Public Benefit Flying Awards as well as other National Awards programs and events please visit www.naa.aero.

Audience at Awards

Thank You!

     ... for helping us honor those who contribute
so much to volunteer-based Public Benefit Flying!