|Robert J. Collier Trophy|
|Awarded for||"the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year."|
|Presented by||National Aeronautic Association (NAA)|
The Robert J. Collier Trophy is an annual aviation award administered by the U.S. National Aeronautic Association (NAA), presented to those who have made "the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year."
Robert J. Collier, publisher of Collier's Weekly magazine, was an air sports pioneer and president of the Aero Club of America. In 1910, he commissioned Baltimore sculptor Ernest Wise Keyser to make the 525-pound (238 kg) Aero Club of America Trophy. First awarded in 1911 to Glenn H. Curtiss for his successful development of the hydro-aeroplane. Collier owned a Wright Model B biplane which he purchased in 1911. Collier presented his namesake trophy several times before his death in 1918; after his World War I service.
In 1922, when the Aero Club dissolved, the award was taken over by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) and it was unofficially renamed the Robert J. Collier Trophy, which became official in 1944. The award is presented once a year by the NAA president, with the trophy on permanent display at the U.S. National Air and Space Museum. As such, the trophy was in the custody of its 1969 co-recipient Michael Collins during his directorship of the museum.
The trophy was stolen briefly in 1978, but was recovered. The thieves left it at Fort Foote park and it was recovered 26 hours from the time it went missing.