The International Air & Space Hall of Fame Class of 2019:
Jeff Bezos - Founder and CEO of Amazon.com, Bezos began in 1994 with a mission to be Earth’s most customer-centric company. In 2000, Bezos founded aerospace company Blue Origin. The company is focused on developing infrastructure for the creation of human spaceflight capabilities and building a future where millions of people are living and working in space. He is also the owner of the Washington Post. In 2018, he founded the Bezos Day One Fund to support the homeless and build high-quality preschools in low-income communities. Bezos graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton University in 1986. He was named TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year in 1999.
Hawley Bowlus - Icon of the Golden Age of Flight, Bowlus’ efforts in glider design dominated from 1911-1929. He was an American engineer, designer and builder of aircraft (especially gliders). Bowlus was the first to break Orville Wright’s 1911 soaring duration record in an American designed and built sailplane. Renewing an earlier friendship with T. Claude Ryan, Bowlus joined Ryan Airlines in 1924 to lead the production of its M-1 and M-2 transports. The success of those aircraft led Charles Lindbergh to order production of the “Spirit of St. Louis” in 1927. Bowlus was the lead engineer on the project, creating the famous aircraft in less than three months. An expert at soaring flight, Bowlus trained many glider pilots and actually gave lessons to Charles and Anne Lindbergh in Bowlus sailplanes in San Diego in 1930.
Dr. Vance D. Coffman - Retired Chairman of Lockheed Martin Corporation, Coffman served in a series of elected corporate leadership positions, including President and Chief Operating Officer of Lockheed Martin’s Space & Strategic Missile Sector. While President of Lockheed’s Space Systems Division in 1988, Coffman was responsible for the Hubble Space Telescope, the MILSTAR satellite communications program and the Follow-on Early Warning System (now called the Space Based Infrared System).
Joan Sullivan Garrett - In 1983, Garrett was serving as a critical care flight nurse and chief medical officer aboard an emergency helicopter evacuation flight, responding to a remote, rural traffic accident. Less than two years later, she founded MedAire – now the leading global provider of 24/7 integrated safety solutions for aviation and maritime where remote medical care is in high demand. Garrett’s congressional testimony in 2001 led to the FAA’s final ruling requiring US airlines to carry AEDs on all flights, domestic and international.
Robert J. Gilliland - First man to fly the SR-71 Blackbird and test-flyer for EVERY Blackbird that came off the production line before it was turned over to the United States Air Force. Gilliland played a vital role in developing the world’s most advanced aircraft used in top secret missions, which were crucially important in winning the Cold War. He has more Mach 3 plus time than any other pilot in the world.
Dick Gordon, Capt., USN, Ret. - An American Naval officer and aviator, chemist, test pilot, and NASA astronaut, Gordon is one of only 24 people to have flown to the Moon. Gordon served as back-up pilot for Gemini 8, and in September 1966, he made his first space flight as pilot of Gemini 11. Gordon was subsequently assigned as backup Command Module Pilot for Apollo 9. In November 1969, he flew as Command Module Pilot of Apollo 12, the second manned mission to land on the Moon.
Lt. Col. David Hamilton, USAF, Ret., & Pathfinder Pilots - An elite special operations group, the Pathfinders were target-marking squadrons during WW II. Hamilton enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force and trained as a C-47 pilot. He was then selected to become a Pathfinder pilot. He participated in critical missions including dropping paratroopers into Normandy in advance of the allied invasion on D-Day. Hamilton is the last surviving Pathfinder pilot from D-Day.
Dr. Robert H. Liebeck - Dr. Liebeck is a world-renowned authority on aerodynamics, hydrodynamics and aircraft design. He earned his Ph.D. in Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering in 1968 and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Liebeck is most noted for his development of airfoils to make wings more efficient which have become known as “Liebeck Airfoils”. He’s also known as one of the founding fathers of the Blended Wing Body aircraft, and is currently a Senior Fellow at The Boeing Company where he is program manager for the Blended Wing Body Program.