Living Legends of Aviation
|Formation||December 17, 2003|
|Purpose||Recognition of Aviation Achievements|
|Jerry Lips (2016)|
|Kiddie Hawk Air Academy|
The Living Legends of Aviation is an award honoring achievements in the aerospace industry, bestowed by the 118 current title holders and owned and produced by the Kiddie Hawk Air Academy, a non-profit 501(c)(3). The Living Legends have all made significant contributions to many areas of aviation including: innovators, record breakers, astronauts, aviation entrepreneurs, industry leaders and celebrity pilots.
The 17th Living Legends of Aviation Awards, honoring the best in aviation for 2019, were presented on January 16, 2020, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, where they have been held annually since 2007.
Jerry Lips, publisher of Airport Journals, came up with the idea of the Living Legends of Aviation at the time of the death of Michael Chowdry (founder of Atlas Air). Airport Journals had been collecting and publishing biographies of various aviation personalities and Jerry regretted not having captured Chowdry's history. He began to compile a list of individuals that had made major contributions in the field of aviation, and had those people suggest more names until 70 were collected. These were the biographies that were to be recorded while the individuals were still "living". The list has grown over the years to its present number of 118. As Legends pass on, they are replaced by new inductees, selected by their fellow Legends.
Jerry Lips founded the Living Legends of Aviation in 2003 with the charter of celebrating the second century of aerospace. In 2008, Kiddie Hawk Air Academy acquired the rights to the organization and annual awards show from previous owner Airport Journals.
Beginning in 2003, an awards show has been organized each year to bring together the Living Legend members for a variety of events. The awards are presented at a prestigious live ceremony, most commonly in mid January following the relevant calendar year.
In 2003, the first Living Legends of Aviation Awards were presented at a banquet dinner hosted by Airport Journals at the Centennial Airport in Englewood, Colorado. To avoid any weather related issues, in 2006 the venue was moved to Southern California and held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel in Los Angeles. Since 2007 the Awards have been presented at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.
In 2018 the inaugural Living Legends of Aviation - Europe event was held on July 26, 2018 at the Scalaria hotel & resort in Salzkammergut, Austria.