National Coalition for Aviation and Space Education

Aero Club Foundation of Washington

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From Support for the Wright Brothers, To Advocacy for Aviation

The Aero Club of Washington s History Spans A Century of Progress
The Club's goals, established in 1909, remain unchanged to this day.

  • Foster and promote interest in the principles and development of aeronautics.
  • Extend honors and hospitalities to eminent airmen.
  • Arrange for lectures and demonstrations.
  • Encourage and arrange for national and international competitions, conventions, congresses and exhibitions.
  • Offer such medals, trophies and prizes as may from time to time be deemed expedient.

The early accomplishments of the Aero Club of Washington provided the club with a solid foundation upon which to fulfill its important mission...the promotion of aviation and the recognition of those deserving honor and recognition.

Beginning in the 1970s, the Aero Club developed a national reputation as one of the premier speaking forums for the aviation industry through its monthly luncheon, usually at the Capital Hilton Hotel in downtown Washington. This central location has provided members with a convenient place to meet their peers, renew acquaintances, and make new friends.

Aero Club policy since the early 90's has been to offer the membership a wide range of speakers representing the leadership in all facets of aviation, from general aviation to the airlines, from Wall Street to Capitol Hill, from the manufacturers to the pilots, and from policymakers to public airport operators. Speakers have included Congressional leaders, often chairmen of the House and Senate aviation subcommittees, Secretaries of Transportation, Chairmen and CEOs of airline and aerospace manufacturing companies, and regular visits by the Administrator of the FAA.Aero Club Trophy and foundation Established, past presidents honored

In 1993, in furtherance of its mission to extend honors and hospitalities to eminent aviators, and in the spirit of this goal, the Club created the Aero Club of Washington Trophy for Aviation Excellence in 1993. The trophy was renamed in 2000, becoming the Donald D. Engen Aero Club of Washington Trophy for Aviation Excellence. It s new descriptive honors Adm. Engen, former Naval aviator, former FAA Administrator and member of the National Transportation Board, and Director of the National Air and Space Museum at the time of his tragic death in 1999 in a glider accident.

The first Trophy presented in 1993 went to Herb Kelleher, Chairman and CEO of Southwest Airlines. Since its inception, the Trophy has been presented on an annual basis to some of the most distinguished individuals and groups in aviation.

As the Aero Club began to expand its focus, the Board determined that a Foundation should be created to further enhance the Club s support for aviation education. In order to encourage corporate contributions and sponsorships, the Club formed the Aero Club of Washington Foundation on June 7, 1995. The source for the initial funding of the Foundation was a "Celebration of Aviation" held at Washington National Airport in September, 1998.

The event, held at the Signature Flight Support facility, was widely attended and included a static display of modern and classic aircraft. The event provided a focus on the purpose of the Aero Club Foundation of Washington and also generated sufficient revenue to sponsor three separate aviation education initiatives in 1999 and make a sizeable contribution to the Foundation's long term fund.

In recognition of the long and notable history of the Aero Club and its previous leadership, a reception was hosted to honor the past presidents in November 1997. More than twenty past presidents gathered, spanning the decades back to the early 1970.

The Aero Club of Washington continues to serve as the host Aero Club in cooperation with the National Aeronautic Association in the presentation of the Wright Memorial Trophy. This formal event is the highlight of the year for many in the aviation industry as nearly 1,000 people gather in December to honor that year's recipient. The tradition of the dinner has grown over the years and it continues to be one of the Club s premier events.

The Aero Club of Washington has a notable 90 year plus history of bringing the Washington and national aviation community together to share an appreciation of aviation issues and the Aero Club Foundation of Washington seeks to instill a continued interest in aviation for future generations.


  • Street: P.O. Box 17295 Dulles International Airport
  • Postcode: 20041
  • City: Washington
  • State: DC
  • Country: United States


Member Organizations

Members of the NCASE are aviation-related groups, organizations and businesses recognizing the importance of aviation education. Education projects contribute toward an informed and interested public, which is a vital factor in the continued welfare of all aviation activities. For information on how to become a member, CLICK HERE




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