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Celebrating the legacy of R. A. “Bob” Hoover


It is our honor to continue to foster Bob's legacy as we award the 2021 trophy to WALLY FUNK!

Wally Funk is a true aviation pioneer. While she may be best known to many for her 2021 journey into space on a Blue Origin rocket, many years and accomplishments prepared Wally for that remarkable moment. Not only has she accumulated 19,600 flight hours, she has been a prolific CFI, air race champion, NTSB investigator, and inspiration to generations of aviators.

The award ceremony will be held on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, from 7pm to 10pm at DCA/Signature/Hangar 7.

The first trophy was presented to the late, great R.A. "Bob" Hoover in 2016, and since then, the recipients have included Sean D. Tucker in 2017, Harrison Ford in 2018, Clay Lacy in 2019, and Burt Rutan in 2020.


Other awards to be presented during the evening:
The 2nd annual Brigadier General Charles E. McGee Aviation Inspiration Award will be presented to Glenn Gonzales, founder and CEO of Jet It.

The AOPA GA Safety Award will be presented to Garmin Autonomí.

The 2021 Sharples award will be presented to Anthony “Tony” Restaino, President, Florida Aero Club and ASN Volunteer for North Perry airport (HWO).

We will also recognize the 2020 Sharples award winner, Dewey Davenport, First Officer at NetJets and Barnstormer.

The 2021 Hartranft award will be presented to Rick Larsen (D-02-WA), Congressman; Chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee.

A block of rooms have been secured at two hotels for this event:
Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, located at 2800 South Potomac Ave, Arlington, VA 22202, (703) 413-1300. Room rate is $219 plus tax per night. Please identify yourself as part of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association group. You may also use this link to book your room.

Crystal City Marriott at Reagan National Airport, located at 1999 Richmond Highway, Arlington, VA 22202-3526, (703) 413-5500. Room rate is $219 plus tax per night. Please identify yourself as part of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association group. You may also use this link to book your room.

If you have any questions or require additional information, please email: Patty Miller [email protected]

We look forward to another great evening!

History of the Hoover Award

AOPA was founded 83 years ago with one simple mission: “Protect the Freedom to Fly.”

No one embodies that spirit more than the late R. A. “Bob” Hoover. A true pioneer, Bob inspired so many with his passion for flight, unbelievable skills, his humility, and an unwavering commitment to the aviation community.

The first Bob Hoover Trophy was presented to Bob, himself, in 2016 during the unveiling of the statue in his likeness at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center.

Bob agreed to have his name forever memorialized as a tribute to aviators whose airmanship, leadership, mentorship, and passion for aviation inspires a love of flight in others. AOPA has been entrusted with carrying on his legacy through this annual award.

In the words of Bob, “The most important thing any aviator can do is to encourage others to want to fly.”

That is one of the reasons why all of us here at AOPA share Bob’s passion, and a big reason we started AOPA’s You Can Fly initiative.

Sean D. Tucker was awarded the Bob Hoover Trophy in 2017, followed by Harrison Ford in 2018, Clay Lacy in 2019, and Burt Rutan in 2020.

Also in 2021, the late Brigadier General Charles McGee presented the Brigadier General Charles E. McGee Aviation Inspiration Award to Legacy Flight Academy founder Kenyatta Ruffin. Before bestowing the honor on Ruffin, we presented the inaugural McGee award to the General, himself.

Other awards presented during this special evening are the Hartranft Award, named after AOPA's first president and former chairman of the board "Doc" Hartranft. It is given annually to elected or appointed government officials for their significant contributions to the advancement of GA. It was presented in 2017 to Congressman Todd Rokita (IN); in 2018 to Congressman Ralph Abraham (LA) and Congressman Steve Russell (OK); to Sen. Jerry Moran (KS) in 2019; and to Sen. Tammy Duckworth (IL) in 2020.

The Sharples Award, named for AOPA's first chairman of the board, Laurence P. Sharples, is given to those who may not work directly in aviation but who have made extraordinary contributions to GA. It was presented in 2017 to Pat Hartness; in 2018 to Ron Dearborn, AOPA Airport Support Network Volunteer; in 2019 to Hawai’i State Sen. Kai Kahele; and to David DeVries, President and Founder of the Out-Of-The-Blue Scholarship Foundation in 2020.

In addition, the AOPA Air Safety Institute believes that knowledgeable people, well-trained and proficient in their craft, and operating reliable equipment in a culture that promotes sound aeronautical decision making, will achieve strong safety performance. It recognizes individuals and organizations that have made extraordinary safety enhancements for general aviation.

We established the AOPA Air Safety Institute’s General Aviation Safety Award to honor those that have delivered exceptional safety performance and innovations. This award was first presented to Dick VanGrunsven of Vans Aircraft in 2018; in 2019 to Tyson Weihs and Jason Miller of Foreflight; and to Boris Popov, Founder, BRS Aerospace, in 2020.