Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, Hawley Bowlus, Dr. Vance Coffman, Joan Sullivan Garrett, Robert Gilliland, Dick Gordon, Lt. Col. David Hamilton, Dr. Robert Liebeck and other aviation and space legends to be honored.
San Diego, CA – Jeff Bezos founder and CEO of Amazon.com, Earth’s most customer centric company, and founder of aerospace company Blue Origin; Hawley Bowlus, American engineer, designer and aircraft builder and icon of the Golden Age of Flight; Dr. Vance Coffman, retired chairman of Lockheed Martin Corporation and the man responsible for the Hubble Space Telescope and other critical space innovations; Joan Sullivan Garrett, founder of MedAire, the leading global provider of integrated safety solutions where remote medical care is in high demand; Robert J. Gilliland, first man to fly the SR-71 Blackbird and test-pilot for EVERY Blackbird that came off the production line; Dick Gordon, American Naval Aviator and Command Module Pilot of Apollo 12, the second manned mission to land on the Moon; Lt. Col. David Hamilton, the last surviving Pathfinder who dropped paratroopers into Normandy in advance of the allied invasion on D-Day; and Dr. Robert H. Liebeck, a world-renowned authority on aerodynamics, hydrodynamics and aircraft design, to be inducted at this year’s International Air & Space Hall of Fame Celebration, the San Diego Air & Space Museum announced today.
Join the San Diego Air & Space Museum in celebrating the honorees on Saturday, November 23, 2019, in the Edwin D. McKellar Pavilion of Flight. Guests from around the world are assembling for a spectacular evening of fun and extraordinary recognition, as each guest is treated to a behind the scenes look into the lives of these air and space legends. Since 1963, the International Air & Space Hall of Fame has honored the world’s most significant pilots, crew members, visionaries, inventors, aerospace engineers, business leaders, preservationists, designers and space explorers.
“We’re especially pleased to honor this exemplary Class of 2019 because these men and women are amongst the most talented figures in air and space history,” said Jim Kidrick, President & CEO of the San Diego Air & Space Museum. “Aviation and space exploration, as embodied by the honorees in the International Air & Space Hall of Fame, directly represents the human pioneering and exploring spirit. November 23 is THE day of the year every guest remembers for the rest of their lives. Guests come from all over the globe just to be in the room with the Honorees and join in this momentous celebration.”
The International Air & Space Hall of Fame Class of 2019:
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.
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. An expert at soaring flight, he 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 Spaced 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.
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 the father 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.
The International Air & Space Hall of Fame is the most prestigious induction of its kind in the world and is composed of hundreds of air and space pioneers, engineers, inventors and innovators, along with adventurers, scientists and industry leaders. NASA Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts and Russian cosmonauts are honored in the Hall, as well as famous legends such as the Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Neil Armstrong and Amelia Earhart. Notable inductees also include Buzz Aldrin, Chuck Yeager, Igor Sikorsky, Wernher von Braun, Jack Northrop, Jackie Cochran, William Boeing, Sr., Reuben H. Fleet, Glenn Curtiss, Walter Zable Sr., Fran Bera, Wally Schirra, Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, T. Claude Ryan, Jimmy Doolittle, Bob Hoover, Ellen Ochoa, Peggy Whitson, Linden Blue, Patty Wagstaff, and many more. Click here to learn more.
Proceeds from the International Air & Space Hall of Fame celebration benefit the Museum’s youth education programs.
“Inspiring kids to undertake tough science and engineering challenges is a critical first step for our future,” Kidrick said. “We must also give them the resources and impetus they need to pursue science education degrees.”
More than 600 national and international business, aviation and space leaders are anticipated to attend the 2019 International Air & Space Hall of Fame Celebration, including prominent representatives and Hall of Fame members from prior years.Tickets are available on the Museum’s website at by clicking here.
The San Diego Air & Space Museum is California’s official air and space museum and education center. The Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and it was the first aero-themed Museum to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The Museum is located at 2001 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101. The Museum and gift store are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with admissions until 4:30 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.