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 2012 National Public Benefit Flying Awards were presented in the U.S. Capitol Building on September 13, 2012. Here is the news release!


Washington, DC, July 3, 2012 — 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 2012 National Public Benefit Flying Awards.

This year’s recipients in each award category are:

Distinguished Volunteer Pilots

Susan Lapis, SouthWings

For her enormous contributions using her aerial aviation skills to protect the natural heritage, communities and ecosystems of the Southeast.

Del Reiff, Wings of Hope

For his decades of dedicated effort and flying over 3,900 hours to solve the causes of poverty and isolation and to serve mankind on several continents from “war torn” Congo to the Amazon Jungles.

Distinguished Volunteers

Debi Boies, Pilots N Paws

For creating a national organization that has greatly contributed to transporting rescue animals from kill shelters to forever homes.

Larry Scheffler, Miracle Flights For Kids

For his outstanding contributions to improve the quality of community life for sick children across America and beyond.

Outstanding Achievement in Public Benefit Flying

Bob Showalter and Showalter Flying Services

For committed support of public benefit flying organizations in times of national and international crisis, such as relief work following the Haitian earthquake and Hurricane Irene.

Champion of Public Benefit Flying

Lightspeed Aviation Foundation

In recognition of Lightspeed’s significant contribution by creating a support system enhancing groups involved in public benefit flying.

“I am very proud of the recipients of the 2012 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, “These recipients are being recognized for their own contributions and also because they serve as examples of all those others who work to fly patients for care, serve in times of emergencies, provide educational flights for youth, support environmental causes, help our veterans, and provide help in many other ways to those in need. We truly enjoy working with NAA to honor these worthy individuals and groups.”

Members of the 2012 PBF Selection Committee were Jonathan Gaffney, President and CEO of NAA (Chairman of the Selection Committee); Linda Daschle, LHD and Associates; Steve Champness, President, Aero Club of Atlanta; Paula Hochstetler, President, Airport Consultants Council; and Lindy Kirkland, Judy Benjamin, and Rick Durden of the Air Care Alliance.

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. These prestigious awards will be presented at the special invitational “Above and Beyond” Ceremony at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 13, 2012 in the Lyndon B. Johnson Room of the U.S. Senate.

In order to nominate someone for a 2013 Public Benefit Flying Award click here for complete information regarding the nominations procedures.

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 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.