The NAHF Class of 2017 represents a broad range of enduring contributions dating from the dawn of the jet age through the manned exploration of space. NAHF will enshrine the four in a ceremony at a place and on a date to be announced. The public will be able to buy tickets in advance.
Here is the Class of 2017:
- Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr., USMC (Ret)—34 year Marine Corps aviation career included 14 years as member of NASA Astronaut Corps. Vietnam War fighter pilot and four-time Shuttle veteran who went on to become NASA Administrator.
- The late Cmdr. Malcolm Scott Carpenter, USN—Navy test pilot that as one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts became the second American to orbit the earth. Helped design the Apollo lunar module and developed underwater training for spacewalks.
- Robert J. Gilliland—Air Force jet fighter and test pilot personally recruited by Kelly Johnson to lead Lockheed Skunk Works testing of its record-breaking SR-71 spy plane. Has logged more test-flight hours above Mach 3 than any other pilot.
- The late Sir Frank Whittle—U.K.-based “Founder of the Jet Age,” who built the first practical turbojet engine in 1937. Sir Whittle’s subsequent engine technology led directly to development of the jet aircraft industry in the U.S., to which Sir Whittle immigrated in 1976.
Each year, the NAHF Board of Nominations, a voting body comprised of 140-plus aviation professionals nationwide, selects a handful of previously nominated air and space pioneers to be recognized for their achievements with enshrinement into the NAHF. Since its founding in 1962, 233 men and women have been so honored.
The NAHF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in Dayton, Ohio in 1962 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1964. Its mission is to honor America’s aerospace legends to inspire future leaders. Its headquarters and public Learning Center are co-located with the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. It operates a youth education program, other public outreach programs and annual enshrinement ceremony, and it collaborates with like-minded organizations. NAHF is a partner of the National Aviation Heritage Alliance.