By Jerry Lips
Airport Journals’ 3rd Annual Living Legends of Aviation awards ceremony took place on Jan. 27. We honored Vern Raburn, our Aviation Entrepreneur of the Year for 2005, and Steven F. Udvar-Hazy, our Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur.
While we honored Mr. Hazy and Mr. Raburn for their significant contributions to the world of aviation and business, it was only fitting that it was with other aviation legends gathered around to salute their significance. Those legends included Rick Adam and Joe Clark, past recipients of our Entrepreneur of the Year award, and Clay Lacy, who was presented with the Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur award for 2004. Honored guests included Academy Award winning actors Cliff Robertson and Morgan Freeman.
The stories of our “Living Legends of Aviation” will inspire and point to common directions of flight in ordinary people who reach extraordinary altitudes in life, as well as show how “flying” is the common thread that took those seemingly ordinary people beyond ordinary boundaries.
Aviation legend Kermit Weeks says “flight” is a great metaphor for life, passing our boundaries, and reaching beyond ourselves. In business, it might be an idea of a simpler, easier way for companies to acquire aircraft that changes the world, or it might be building a smaller, more efficient aircraft that will change the dimensions of our business world. Whatever the idea, the real key is taking the idea and flying beyond the boundaries.
Take Lindbergh’s flight, which really was quite simple, as an example. He didn’t have any secret technology, and he wasn’t a genius. Nor did he have any great advantages of wealth or experience. He used an ordinary aircraft of the day and basic navigational principals. The whole feat was very simple; thousands of pilots of the day could’ve done it. Today, most any of us realize that we could’ve done it. The simple reason for his success was that he flew beyond his doubts, while others were wrapped up in contingency plans to be picked up by ships, and recruiting others to share the ride. Lindbergh simply flew to Le Bourget.
So what was so great? Why should we honor people like Charles Lindbergh or Vern Raburn or Steven F. Udvar-Hazy? We honor them because they inspire us; each of their stories is so valuable because they inspire us to fly beyond our own limiting boundaries.
When we see proof that extraordinary things are possible and that it’s as simple as reaching beyond ourselves, we are then free to fly to new heights ourselves.
The common thread among the “Living Legends of Aviation” is simply their ability to fly beyond the boundaries. One by one, their stories inspire us to step out of our own self limits, to imagine and believe.
You’ll find our coverage of this wonderful event in our March issue.