For more than a century, the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) has recognized the very best in American Aviation.  Today, NAA is proud to announce the recipients of the 2020 Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman and Stateswoman of Aviation Award: Brigadier General John Allen, USAF (Ret.); Captain Julie Clark; Einar Enevoldson; David Franson; Colonel & Doctor Kathryn Hughes, USAF (Ret.); and Michael Quiello. 


The Distinguished Statesman and Stateswoman of Aviation Award was established in 1954 by the Board of Directors of the NAA.  The award honors “… outstanding Americans who, by their efforts over an extended period of years, have made contributions of significant value to aeronautics and have reflected credit upon America and themselves.”  Previous recipients of this award include: Jimmy Dolittle, Katherine Stinson, Charles Bolden, Olive Ann Beech, and Chuck Yeager. 


Brigadier General John Allen, USAF (Ret.) for “… his 35 years of leadership as a regulator, operator, and civil and military pilot, with significant contributions to setting industry standards and improving aviation safety for all.” 


“John Allen has demonstrated a career-long commitment to aviation safety, operational success, technological advancement, and developing the next generation of leaders during his distinguished public service with the FAA, the United States Air Force, and most recently with JetBlue,” stated Nicholas Calio, President & CEO of Airlines for America, who nominated Allen for this honor.  “He exemplifies the smart and steady leadership that is the hallmark of the U.S. aviation industry.” 


Captain Julie Clark for “… her decades-long contributions to the art of aerobatic airshow flying, inspiring millions of fans who have witnessed her expertly choreographed routines, and for blazing a trail for women in aviation as one of the first female pilots to be hired by a major U.S. airline.”   


Former Distinguished Statesman, George Carneal, who nominated Clark for this award noted “Julie Clark’s superlative contributions to the art of aerobatic airshow flying spanned decades of accident free hours and thrilled millions of fans by her innovative, skillful, and elegant airshow routines. Julie’s extraordinary achievements as a premier pilot also included her status during a career of thirty years as one of the first women to be hired as a pilot by a major airline and then as a captain.” 


Einar Enevoldson for “… his visionary and persistent quest to advance the progress of aeronautics by researching and exploring the stratosphere in a glider utilizing high altitude waves.” 


“Einar Enevoldson’s record-setting quest to soar the Perlan glider in stratospheric mountain waves, and his decades of service flying for the United States Air Force, the Royal Air Force, and NASA, inspire us to follow our curiosity and chase the thrill of discovery,” praised Enevoldson’s nominator and granddaughter, Jocelyn Enevoldsen.  “The Perlan Project shines light on the global weather and climate phenomena that determine Earth’s habitability, and reflects the beauty of teamwork, perseverance, and multicultural collaboration.” 


David Franson for “… his fervent dedication as an aviation communications executive and founder of the Wichita Aero Club, and for his 40 years of service in continuing to advance the future of aviation.” 


“Dave Franson is a longtime and outstanding aviation industry advocate and has been a mentor to myself as well as many others,” shared Franson’s nominator Cassandra Bosco, Education and Industry Relations Director for Women in Aviation International.  “He is so deserving of this honor.” 


Colonel & Doctor Kathryn Hughes, USAF (Ret.) for “… her pioneering accomplishments in aviation and aerospace medicine, passion for advancing human systems integration, and unceasing drive to mentor future generations.” 


Michael Quiello for “… his life-long devotion to aviation as a military aviator, commercial airline captain, industry executive, and non-profit leader.” 


“I enthusiastically nominated both Kathy Hughes and Michael Quiello for this award for the same reason – they are fighters,” shared Amy Spowart, President & CEO of the National Aviation Hall of Fame.  Spowart added, “Whether it was socioeconomic status or gender, both Michael and Kathy not only rose through the ranks of our industry, but they climbed to the top. For them there were no excuses, only hard earned successes by two of the most remarkable leaders in aviation.” 


“Congratulations to the 2020 class of NAA Distinguished Statesmen and Stateswomen,” proclaimed NAA President, Greg Principato.  “This year’s class represents people from across the aviation spectrum who have truly made consequential contributions to aviation and to their country.” 


The members of the 2020 Distinguished Statesman and Stateswoman of Aviation Selection Committee were: Jim Albaugh, Chairman of NAA; Former FAA Administrators Randy Babbitt, Marion Blakey, Jane Garvey and Michael Huerta; and former Distinguished Statesman recipients Steve Alterman (2017), Peggy Chabrian (2016), Jonathan Gaffney (2019), Bill Garvey (2018), Michael Heuer (2019), John King (2018), Martha King (2018), Dick Koenig (2012), Mary Miller (2019), John Rosanvallon (2019), and Don Skiados (2019). 


The 2020 class of Distinguished Statesmen and Stateswomen will
be honored on a date and location to be determined.  For more information, please visit  


The National Aeronautic Association is a non-profit membership organization devoted to fostering opportunities to participate fully in aviation activities and to promoting public understanding of the importance of aviation and space flight to the United States. NAA is the caretaker of some of the most important aviation awards in the world, and certifies all national aviation records set in the  

United States. For information, visit