World’s Most Prestigious International Air & Space Hall of Fame to Induct Distinguished Class of 2023 on Oct. 21

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Since 1963, the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum has honored the world’s most significant pilots, crew members, visionaries, inventors, aerospace engineers, business leaders, preservationists, designers and space explorers. Notable inductees into the Hall include NASA astronauts, the Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Neil Armstrong and Amelia Earhart.

On October 21, the Hall will welcome its distinguished Class of 2023 at the San Diego Air & Space Museum during its annual star-studded Gala. To date, this year’s class includes William Shatner, Star Trek's "Captain James T. Kirk", award-winning actor, author, philanthropist and space tourist; Royce Williams, aviator and Navy Cross recipient; and Robert DeLaurentis, record-setting American aviator. More inductees will be confirmed as the Gala approaches.

“We’re exceptionally pleased to honor this exemplary Class of 2023 because these men and women represent a vast range of the ongoing advances in aviation and space exploration,” said Jim Kidrick, President & CEO of the San Diego Air & Space Museum. “Achievements in aviation and space, as embodied by the honorees in the prestigious International Air & Space Hall of Fame, directly represents the human pioneering spirit and pursuit of mankind’s final frontiers. This is a can’t miss event and something every guest will remember for the rest of their lives!”

William Shatner
William Shatner has cultivated a career spanning over 70 years as an award-winning actor, director, producer, writer, recording artist, and equestrian. He is one of Hollywood’s most recognizable figures and a major philanthropist. On October 13, 2021 he became the oldest person to go into space, at age 90, on board the Blue Origin NS-18, when he went beyond the Kármán line. In 1966, Shatner originated the role of “Captain James T. Kirk” in the television series Star Trek. The series spawned a feature film franchise where Shatner returned as Captain Kirk in seven of the Star Trek movies, one of which he directed. He won Emmys and his first Golden Globe for his portrayal of eccentric lawyer “Denny Crane” on both The Practice and Boston Legal.

Royce Williams
On November 18, 1952, E. Royce Williams was flying with three other members of VF-781 from the USS Oriskany when they encountered seven Mig-15s. Out manned and piloting what most consider an inferior aircraft to the Mig-15, Williams engaged the seven Migs for 35 minutes, shooting down four of them. This would be the longest dogfight in the history of the US Navy, and the deciding factor would be William’s skill as a pilot. Though his Panther was shot 263 times, he was able to make it back to the Oriskany and land safely. Williams is the recipient of the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, and two Distinguished Flying Crosses.

Robert DeLaurentis
Robert DeLaurentis is an American aviator, businessman and author. He was the first solo pilot to fly a Piper Malibu Mirage, a small, single-engine plane, around the world from May 17, 2015 to August 14, 2015. The flight covered 26,000 nautical miles and 23 countries in the 98 days for a fundraising campaign to support aviation programs. On August 10, 2020, DeLaurentis completed a nine-month, 26,000 nautical mile polar circumnavigation and global peace mission, “One Planet, One People, One Plane: Oneness for Humanity.”

Proceeds from the prestigious International Air & Space Hall of Fame celebration benefit the Museum’s youth education programs.

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