Living Legends of Aviation
FormationDecember 17, 2003
FounderJerry Lips
Type501(c)(3) nonprofit
PurposeRecognition of Aviation Achievements
c. 118
Executive Director
Jerry Lips (2016)
Parent organization
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).[1] 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).[2] 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.


Past inductees


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.[4]

In 2018 the inaugural Living Legends of Aviation - Europe event was held on July 26, 2018 at the Scalaria hotel & resort in Salzkammergut, Austria.[5]

List of winners


Kenn Ricci Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award
Year Winner
2003 Charles Gates
2004 Clay Lacy
2005 Steven Udvar-Hazy
2006 Al Ueltschi
2007 James D. Raisbeck
2008 Sir Richard Branson
2009 Joe Clark
2010 Delford Smith
2011 J Robert Duncan
2012 David Neeleman
2013 Frederick Smith
2014 Herb Kelleher
2016 Kenn Ricci
2017 Robert Bigelow
2018 Jeff Bezos
2019 Charles Gordon-Lennox, 11th Duke of Richmond
2019 Dr S. Harry Robertson
Eren Ozmen Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Year Winner
2003 George F (Rick) Adam
2004 Joe Clark
2005 Vern Raburn
2006 Dale & Alan Klapmeier
2007 Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum
2008 Linden Blue
2009 Elon Musk
2010 Lynn Tilton
2011 Eren & Fatih Ozmen
2012 John Uczekaj
2015 Thomas Flohr
2017 Tyson Weihs & Jason Miller
2018 Ivo Boscarol
2019 Kenny Dichter
Bob Hoover Freedom of Flight Award
Year Winner
2006 Bob Hoover
2007 Forrest Bird & George McGovern
2008 Emily Howell Warner & Zoe Dell Nutter
2009 Kermit Weeks
2010 Doolittle Raiders & Sam Johnson
2011 Burt Rutan
2012 Neil Armstrong & Eugene Cernan
2013 Patrick Brady
2016 Clay Lacy
2018 Walter Eichhorn
Official Ambassador of Aviation Award
Year Winner
2007 John Travolta
Aviation Industry Leader of the Year Award
Year Winner
2007 Pete Bunce
2008 Ed Bolen
2009 Preston Henne
2010 Mark Van Tine
2014 Michimasa Fujino
2016 Phebe Novakovic
2018 Brian Barents
Legends Aviation Inventor Award
Year Winner
2008 Si Robin
Harrison Ford Aviation Legacy Award
Year Winner
2008 Harrison Ford
2009 Jeffrey Puckett
2010 Pat Epps
2011 Richard Sugden
2012 Greg Anderson
2013 Marilyn Richwine & Rhonda Fullerton
2014 Mark Baker
2015 Scott Terry
2016 Peter Paul Luce
2017 Jim Inhofe
2018 Sean Tucker
Steven F. Udvar Hazy Award
Year Winner
2017 Gen. Jack Dailey
Heritage Patriot Award
Year Winner
2008 William Anders
Legends Top Flyer Award
Year Winner
2008 Paul "Max" Moga
Aviation Mentor Award
Year Winner
2009 Kurt Russell
Aviation Inspiration and Patriotism Award
Year Winner
2009 Tom Cruise
2010 Sean Tucker
2011 Morgan Freeman
2012 David Ellison
2014 Angelina Jolie
2015 Miles O'Brien
2016 Mark & Scott Kelly
Legends Wings of Hope Award
Year Winner
2017 Frank Franke
Out–Of-This-World Landing & Takeoff Award
Year Winner
2009 Buzz Aldrin
Cool Captain Award
Year Winner
2010 James Lovell
Lifetime Aviation Engineering Award
Year Winner
2010 Frank D. Robinson
Aircraft of Legend Award
Year Winner
2011 Boeing 787 Dreamteam
Elling Halvorson Vertical Flight Hall of Fame Award
Year Winner
2012 Roy Morgan
2013 Jack Erickson
2014 Elling Halvorson
2015 William "Bill" Chiles
2016 Steven Hickok
2017 Mike Silva
2019 Sergei Sikorsky
Lifetime Aviation Industry Leader Award
Year Winner
2012 James Albaugh
2013 Bruce N. Whitman
2015 Ray Conner
2017 David Joyce
2018 Jean Rosanvallon
Jeff Bezos Freedom Wings Award
Year Winner
2018 Jeff Bezos
2019 Capt. James Lovell
Doolittle Raiders Special Induction Award
Year Winner
2015 Dick Cole & David Thatcher[7]
Kiddie Hawk Children's Award
Year Winner
2015 Col. Gail Halvorsen
Dream Chaser Award
Year Winner
2018 Eren & Fatih Ozmen
World’s Safest, Longest Continuous Operating Airline Award
Year Winner
2018 Leigh Clifford
Legends Wings of Help Award
Year Winner
2018 Stefan Aust
2019 Claus & Gunnar Heinemann
2019 Thomas Schrade
Changing Lives With Aviation Award
Year Winner
2018 Dick DeVos
Aviation Inspiration and Patriotism Award
Year Winner
2018 Jim Payne
Legends Technology Award
Year Winner
2018 Bertrand Piccard
Technology Innovation Award
Year Winner
2019 Robert Machtlinger & Hu Huazhi
Stratospheric Explorer Award
Year Winner
2019 Alan Eustace

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Schapiro, Steve (March 2015). "Harrison Ford honors AOPA". AOPA Pilot: 27.
  5. ^ Living Legends of Aviation Europe
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 13, 2015. Retrieved February 25, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Missoula Doolittle Raider Thatcher to join Living Legends of Aviation".