Talented Innovators, Fantastic Aircraft: Creating the Future of Aerospace

Published in Midwest Flyer Magazine (online) – December 2020/January 2021 issue

A webinar held October 22, 2020, hosted by the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) and National Aeronautic Association (NAA), featured some of the top personalities in futuristic flight who shared their vision and their plans in the decades ahead, including test pilot, Dick Rutan, who was the first person to fly non-stop around-the-world with copilot Jeana Yeager in 1986; NAHF Enshrinee and NAA Collier Award Winner, Amanda Simpson, Vice-President for Research and Technology at Airbus Americas, and formerly the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy; and Blake Scholl, Founder and CEO of Boom Aerospace, a startup company in Centennial, Colorado, destined to make supersonic commercial flight affordable for the general public.

Webinar participants were asked the following questions and gave the following responses:

1) Has aviation evolved enough since 1958 and the widespread implementation of jet engines?
Answer 1: Yes      43%
Answer 2: No       57%

2) When will we be able to buy a ticket on a supersonic aircraft?
Answer 1: 202      59%
Answer 2: 2028   30%
Answer 3: 2032   37%
Answer 4: 2035   24%

3) When will hydrogen, electric, and other such propulsion systems be in wide use?
Answer 1: 2025    11%
Answer 2: 2028   17%
Answer 3: 2032   21%
Answer 4: 2035   51%

4) If there could be one major aviation-based technological breakthrough in your lifetime, what would it be?
Answer 1: Commercial supersonic flight.                                               19%
Answer 2: Non-fossil fuel engine propulsion.                                       44%
Answer 3: Vertical takeoff airplanes.                                                       15%
Answer 4: Passenger travel around the globe through low space.     22%

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) is the oldest national aviation organization in the United States with headquarters at Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, DC. A non-profit association, NAA is “dedicated to the advancement of the art, sport and science of aviation in the United States.” The core of the organization is its members; thousands of individuals, organizations, and corporations representing all segments of American aviation. NAA encompasses all areas of flight from skydiving and models to commercial airlines, military aircraft, and spaceflight (naa.aero). Greg Principato is President and CEO of NAA and cohosted the webinar with Amy Spowart, President and CEO of the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) in Dayton, Ohio. NAHF honors those who have “truly created a world where the sky is no longer the limit.” The stories of NAHF enshrinees are told at the NAHF Learning and Research Center (nationalaviation.org).

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