Aviation Association President and CEO Ed Bolen
reflected this week on the passing of Eugene Cernan,
the last man to walk on the moon, a frequent
participant in NBAA events and programs and a
long-standing advocate for business aviation.
“Gene Cernan is an
American legend whose life will long be a source of
inspiration,” noted Bolen. “He was a champion of the
global aviation community, and a hero to the next
generation of aerospace pioneers. He left his
footprints on the moon, and an indelible mark on our
In 2013, NBAA
honored Cernan with its Meritorious Service to
Aviation Award, the business aviation industry’s
most distinguished honor, in recognition of Cernan's
extensive contributions to furthering achievements
in aviation and aerospace.
A career U.S. Navy
aviator, Cernan flew into space three times over his
13 years, first serving as pilot of the Gemini 9
mission in 1966, which furthered NASA’s
understanding of the techniques required for
extra-vehicular activities. He later flew two trips
to the moon, serving as lunar module pilot of Apollo
10, NASA's final proving mission for the vehicle and
procedures to be used for the Apollo moon landings,
and as commander of Apollo 17, NASA's final manned
moon mission, in 1972.
from the Navy as a captain, and from NASA, in 1976.
He held the distinction of being the last NASA
astronaut to walk on the moon's surface, an
experience he said drove and inspired him throughout
all his subsequent endeavors.
Gene Cernan receives Meritorious Service
to Aviation Award at NBAA2013.
pilot, Cernan for a time served as the public face
of Bombardier’s Safety Standdown, an event held in
partnership with NBAA and others to promote
knowledge-based pilot safety training, along with
personal discipline and responsibility, as essential
elements of aviation safety and professionalism.
Underscoring the importance of aviation safety,
Cernan also lent his name to that event’s safety
award for several years until he felt it was
established enough to stand on its own.
Cernan was a
regular guest at NBAA's annual Business Aviation
Convention & Exhibition, where he frequently joined
other legendary aviators in presenting the National
Aviation Hall of Fame’s annual Combs Gates Award,
which honors aviation history, research and
Cernan received during his storied career included
an FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Certificate,
given during a presentation at NBAA’s 2010
convention, as well as the Navy Distinguished Flying
Cross, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the FAI
International Gold Medal for Space, the Wright
Brothers Memorial Trophy in 2007 and NASA's first
Ambassador of Exploration Award.
In addition to
bestowing its Meritorious Service to Aviation Award
upon Cernan at its convention in 2013, NBAA also
honored him with tributes offered by a distinguished
panel of other aviation legends at that same event,
including the late air show aviator and U.S. Air
Force test pilot Bob Hoover, former flight director
for NASA mission control Gene Kranz and NASA
astronaut Bonnie Dunbar.
"You empower us,
you inspire us, you make the world a better place,"
said famed aerobatic performer Sean D. Tucker on
that occasion. "Just for us to be sitting here with
you is an honor. This community loves you."