The NBAA is bestowing its 2019 Meritorious Service to Aviation Award, the association's highest honour, to pilot, businessman and aviation champion Ross Perot, Jr. at this year's NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), which takes place October 22-24 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Perot is a longtime pilot and aviation advocate, who served more than eight years with the US Air Force, and later led a 14-year effort to establish the US Air Force Memorial in Washington, DC. In 1982, he co-piloted a Bell 206L-1 LongRanger II dubbed the ‘Spirit of Texas’ on the first round-the-world flight by helicopter.
Today, he serves as chairman of The Perot Group, a family-based investment operation, and as founder and chairman of Hillwood, a global real estate development firm.
Through Hillwood, Perot drove the development of Fort Worth Alliance airport, which over the past 30 years has grown into a vital business aviation and industrial transportation centre for the region, and a model facility being emulated elsewhere. Hillwood also frequently operates its business airplanes on humanitarian missions into challenging situations around the world.
“Ross is not only an aviation pioneer in his own right, but also an outstanding citizen, businessman and leader with a tremendous life story,” says NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “He represents the very best of our industry, including its humanitarian values, and has been a tireless advocate for the entire aviation community and a lifetime patriot for the United States.”
Recently, Perot has taken an active role in the development of urban air mobility, a fast-emerging transportation segment that also holds potential for business aviation uses, through a partnership with Uber Elevate. He also serves as chairman for the EastWest Institute and serves on the boards of the Dallas Citizens Council, Vanderbilt University and the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum.
First presented in 1950, the Meritorious Service to Aviation Award celebrates extraordinary lifelong professional contributions to aviation. Recipients of the honour are those who built the aviation industry, including business aviation, from the ground up by virtue of a lifetime of personal dedication, and who have made significant identifiable contributions that have materially advanced aviation interests.