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.

The 2011 National Public Benefit Flying Awards were presented in the U.S. Capitol Building on September 15, 2011.

We may add additional news and photos for the event sometime later, but for now please enjoy reading about this year’s recipients in the news release below.

Award recipients at a prior “Above and Beyond” Ceremony in the United States Capitol Building

News Release
Cassandra Bosco


Washington, DC, July 7, 2011 — The National Aeronautic Association, in partnership with the Air Care Alliance, a nationwide league of humanitarian flying organizations, is proud to announce the recipients of the 2011 National Public Benefit Flying Awards.

This year’s recipients are:

Distinguished Volunteer Pilot – Dr. Lewis Young, Angel Flight Central

Dr. Lewis Young has provided more than 700 flights since 2001 for Angel Flight Central, a volunteer organization that provides long-distance transportation at times of personal and community crisis.

Distinguished Volunteers – Dick Gooch, Angel Flight Central and Larry A. Lemke, Wings of Hope

Dick Gooch has provided volunteer services for Angel Flight Central for over 14 years as a volunteer staff member, outreach ambassador, board member, and advocate for patients, pilots and staff.

Larry Lemke’s extraordinary Wings of Hope program, which he joined in 1995 and has chaired since 2004, provides humanitarian efforts worldwide. Mr. Lemke has flown more than 1100 U.S. flights and worked more than 7,000 hours in charitable efforts providing advanced health care to impoverished people.

Outstanding Achievement in Public Benefit Flying – Bruce Robin Stoddard and Wright Flight Inc.

For more than 25 years Bruce Robin Stoddard and Wright Flight have used the powerful motivator of aviation to help America’s children stay in school and attain higher personal and educational goals. Relying almost entirely on volunteer teachers, pilots, and ground crews, the program currently operates in nine states and has more than 20,000 graduates.

Champion of Public Benefit Flying – 2010 Cessna Citation Special Olympics Airlift

In July 2010, the Citation Special Olympics Airlift capped a two-year planning effort led by Cessna Aircraft Company, involving more than 200 employee volunteers and some 160 volunteer Cessna Citation business jets to provide transportation for Special Olympics athletes from around the country to the quadrennial Special Olympics USA National Games.

“I am very proud of the recipients of the 2011 Public Benefit Flying Awards,” said NAA President and CEO Jonathan Gaffney. “All of the nominations were worthy, but the list of our honorees demonstrates again the diversity of public benefit flying in America and the many different people who benefit from it.”

Air Care Alliance Chairman Rol Murrow notes, “Each year thousand of volunteers in aviation quietly work to fly patients for care, provide educational flights for youth, support environmental causes, serve in times of emergencies, help our veterans, and provide help in many other ways to those in need. Along with NAA, we are pleased to be able to work with leaders in our Nation’s capitol to honor these selfless individuals, their groups, and those who provide essential support for them.”

Members of the 2011 PBF Selection Committee were Jonathan Gaffney, NAA; Linda Daschle, LHD and Associates; Andrew Broom, AOPA, and Henry Ogrodzinski, NASAO. Members of the Selection Committee representing the Air Care Alliance were Judy Benjamin, Rick Durden, Lindy Kirkland, and Dan Meyer.

The Public Benefit Flying Awards were created to honor volunteer pilots, other volunteers, and their organizations engaged in flying to help others, and those supporting such work. Since 2003, dozens of awards have been presented at the celebratory Above and Beyond Awards Ceremony, which this year will be held on Thursday, September 15, 2011, in the Lyndon B. Johnson Room of the U.S. Senate.

In order to nominate someone for a 2012 Public Benefit Flying Award, please see complete information regarding the nominations procedures at or

The National Aeronautic Association is a non-profit membership organization devoted to fostering opportunities to participate fully in aviation activities and to promoting public understanding of the importance of aviation and space flight to the United States. NAA is the caretaker of several major aviation awards, and certifies all world and national aviation records set in the United States. For information, visit

The Air Care Alliance is a nonprofit public service organization supporting the work of dozens of volunteer-based charitable organizations whose members fly to help others. ACA is devoted to fostering, enhancing, and promoting public benefit flying in the United States and other countries. For information, visit

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For additional information and list of prior awardees please visit Email us at

For a complete list of prior award recipients with photos and descriptions of their accomplishments please click here and read our Prior Recipients PDF.

To read more about prior awards and see photos of the events, held in the U.S. Capitol Building, visit our Public Benefit Flying Awards Page.