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World’s Most Prestigious Air & Space Hall of Fame to Enshrine Distinguished Class of 2018

Peggy Whitson, Ellen Ochoa, Brad Tilden, Bruce Whitman, Lloyd “Fig” Newton, Richard I. Bong. Corporate Angel Network / Air Charity Network and other aviation and space legends to be honored at San Diego Air & Space Museum’s annual star-studded celebration.

San Diego, CA - May 07, 2018 – Peggy Whitson, the first female commander of the International Space Station (ISS) and holder of the record for most days in space by a NASA astronaut; Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman in the world to go into space; Brad Tilden, Chairman/CEO of Alaska Air Group, parent company of Alaska Airlines;Bruce Whitman, Chairman, President and CEO of FlightSafety International;Lloyd “Fig” Newton, the first African American pilot in the United States Air Force Thunderbirds; Richard I. Bong, America’s Ace of Aces and recipient of the Medal of Honor, America’s highest military award; and the Corporate Angel Network / Air Charity Network, national charitable organizations whose missions are to transport those in serious need;to be enshrined at this year’s International Air & Space Hall of Fame Celebration.

Join the San Diego Air & Space Museum in celebrating the honorees on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, in the Edwin D. McKellar Pavilion of Flight. Guests from around the world are assembling for a spectacular evening of fun and extraordinary recognition, as each guest is treated to an experiential peek into the lives of these air and space legends. Since 1963, the International Air & Space Hall of Fame has honored more than 200 of the world’s most significant pilots, crew members, visionaries, inventors, aerospace engineers, business leaders, preservationists, designers and space explorers.

“We’re especially pleased to honor this exemplary Class of 2018 because these men and women are amongst the most talented figures in air and space history,” said Jim Kidrick, President & CEO of the San Diego Air & Space Museum. “Aviation and space exploration, as embodied by the honorees in the International Air & Space Hall of Fame, directly represents the human pioneering and exploring spirit. October 3 is THE day of the year every guest will remember for the rest of their lives. Guests come from all over the globe just to be in the room with our Honorees and join in this celebration.”

The International Air & Space Hall of Fame is the most prestigious induction of its kind in the world and is composed of hundreds of air and space pioneers, engineers, inventors and innovators, along with adventurers, scientists and industry leaders. NASA Mercury, Geminiand Apolloastronauts and Russian cosmonauts are honored in the Hall, as well as famous legends such as the Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Neil Armstrong and Amelia Earhart. Notable inductees include Buzz Aldrin, Chuck Yeager, Igor Sikorsky, Wernher von Braun, Jack Northrop, Jackie Cochran, William Boeing, Sr., Reuben H. Fleet, Glenn Curtiss, Walter Zable Sr., Fran Bera, Wally Schirra, Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, T. Claude Ryan, Jimmy Doolittle, Bob Hoover, Linden Blue, Patty Wagstaff, and many more. See the following link: http://sandiegoairandspace.org/exhibits/online-exhibit-page/international-air-space-hall-of-fame.

Proceeds from the International Air & Space Hall of Fame celebration benefit the Museum’s youth education programs.

“Inspiring kids to undertake tough science and engineering challenges is a critical first step for our future,” Kidrick said. “We must also give them the resources and impetus they need to pursue science education degrees.”

The International Air & Space Hall of Fame Class of 2018:

Peggy Whitson Whitson is an astronaut who holds the record for most days spent in space of any NASA astronaut –with a total of 665 days. Whitson was the first female commander of the International Space Station (ISS) with Expedition 16, and in 2017 became the first female astronaut to command the ISS twice.

Ellen Ochoa Ochoa became the first Hispanic woman in the world to go to space in 1993, serving on a nine-day mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. A veteran of four space flights, Ochoa logged nearly 1,000 hours in space. Currently she serves as the Director of Johnson Space Center. She is the JSC’s first Hispanic director, its second female and 11thoverall director.

Brad Tilden Tilden’s passion for Alaska Airlines has redefined travel fare expectations for airline customers – and ensured the highest quality air travel experience. A 25-year veteran of Alaska Airlines, he now serves as Chairman/CEO of Alaska Air Group, parent company of Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and the recently acquired Virgin America. He’s leading the transition to replace Virgin’s Airbus fleet with Boeing jets.

Bruce N. Whitman Whitman joined FlightSafety International in 1961 and since 2003 serves as Chairman, President & CEO. He is Director Emeritus of the Civil Air Patrol and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. He also serves on several boards, including Orbis International and Corporate Angel Network.

General Lloyd W. “Fig” Newton - USAF Newton was the first African-American pilot in the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. A retired United States Air Force four-star general, he served as Commander, Air Education and Training Command from 1997-2000. Newton was a superb command pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours, including in the F-117 stealth fighter. Currently, Newton is Chair of the National Business Aviation Association.

Major Richard I. Bong - USAAF America’s all-time Ace of Aces, Bong downed 40 enemy planes in the Pacific theater of WWII while flying the P-38 Lightning fighter. His many decorations for outstanding skills and extraordinary courage included America’s highest award –the Medal of Honor. He died on August 6, 1945 at the young age of 24 while testing one of our first fighter jets (P80). Thousands attended his funeral, and many more lined the route to the Wisconsin cemetery where he was buried.

Corporate Angel Network / Air Charity Network National charitable organizations whose missions are to transport those in serious need. Corporate Angel Network’s sole mission is to transport cancer patients to hospitals, at no cost, in order to receive a specialized form of treatment. Air Charity Network provides free air transportation to specialized health care facilities or distant destinations due to family, community or national crisis.

More than 600 regional, national and international business, air and space leaders are anticipated to attend the 2018 International Air & Space Hall of Fame Gala, including prominent representatives and Hall of Fame members from prior years.

The San Diego Air & Space Museum is California’s official air and space museum and education center. The Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and it was the first aero-themed Museum to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Now showing: SPEED: Science in Motion, a fun interactive special exhibition for adventurers of all ages. The Museum is located at 2001 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101. The Museum and gift store are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with admissions until 4:30 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Copyright © 2018 San Diego Air & Space Museum, All rights reserved. Press Contact Contact: David Neville
San Diego Air & Space Museum
(619) 234-8291, Ext. 140

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