The Museum of Flight Honors Aerospace Pathfinders

SEATTLE – Every year for over three decades, The Museum of Flight’s Pathfinder Awards honors Northwest visionaries that have made significant contributions to the development of the aerospace industry.

Michael P. Anderson

Michael P. Anderson

This year the Pathfinder Awards recipients are the late NASA astronaut Michael P. Anderson, aviation and tourism entrepreneur Elling Halvorson and The Boeing Company and Ford Motor Company leader Alan Mulally. The recipients will be honored at the 34th Annual Pathfinder Awards on Oct. 24. For further information and tickets to the exclusive event, contact Andrea Arenas at 206.764.5709, or [email protected]

Michael P. Anderson
Recipient in the At-Large Category
Astronaut Lt. Col. Michael Anderson set his eyes on aviation and aerospace at an early age. Inspired by the Apollo 11 Moon landing, “Star Trek” and “Lost in Space”, Anderson dreamed of becoming an astronaut. He was also academically motivated and excelled in the sciences; a future career for NASA was the perfect combination of his interests and talents. In 1981, Anderson graduated with honors from the University of Washington with degrees in both physics and astronomy and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He logged over 3,000 flight hours for the U.S. Air Force. On top of his Air Force duties he found time to earn a masters in physics from Creighton University, making him a competitive candidate for an astronaut spot at NASA.

Selected by NASA in 1994, Anderson embarked on two missions in space, the STS-89 Endeavour (January 22-31, 1998) and the STS 107 Columbia (January 16-February 1, 2003). As mission specialist aboard Endeavour, Anderson conducted many experiments and assisted with the transfer of more than 9,000 pounds of equipment and hardware to the space station. He also became the first African-American astronaut to visit the Russian’s Mir Space Station. In 2003, Anderson journeyed to space on the STS-107 Columbia. Appointed as a Payload Commander, Anderson was responsible for overseeing some 80 science experiments during the 16-day research mission. As Columbia started its re-entry into the atmosphere disaster struck, and the shuttle and its crew of seven were lost.

Anderson was presented many awards for his service in the Air Force, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, the U.S. Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, and the U.S. Air Force Achievement Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster. Anderson was posthumously awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and the Space Flight Medal.

Anderson enthusiastically spoke to countless youths emphasizing the importance of education and encouraging them to pursue their dreams. Anderson epitomizes the very essence of a Pathfinder, his dedication to science and space discovery coupled with his integrity and humility as a human being make him an ideal recipient for this award.

Elling Halvorson
Recipient in the Operations Category
A legendary entrepreneur, Elling Halvorson has had a significant impact on vertical lift practices in industries including construction, engineering, travel and tourism. After completing his education at Willamette University, Halvorson coupled a degree in economics with “what you might call a minor in civil engineering” as he puts it.
He immediately went to work for the family business in construction, and was challenged by a variety of contracts- most notably, the Echo Summit Microwave Project. For this project he purchased his first helicopter, a Bell 47-G3B1 to carry workers and light construction materials through treacherous mountain terrain.
Specializing in remote area projects with challenging logistics, Halvorson took pride in mitigating risks through creativity and innovation.

The job that truly changed the course of Halvorson’s career involved constructing a 13.5-mile-long water pipeline from the North to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Halvorson used a fleet of helicopters including the Sikorsky S-61 and S-55, and the Bell Huey 204B for heavy lifting. Lighter loads were moved with Bell-47s and Hiller SL-4s. The project took three years and endured many challenges including a devastating “1,500-year flood” that destroyed many miles of pipeline. It remains the largest helicopter-construction project completed in the United States.

As Halvorson and his team flew colleagues and clients to work sites within the canyon, the majestic scenery was so captivating that workers began requesting chartered helicopter flights during off hours. In 1965, Halvorson recognized the golden opportunity and created the world’s first helicopter sightseeing company -Grand Canyon Helicopters. Today, the company is known as Papillon Group with Grand Canyon Helicopters operating as one of its brands. This year, Papillon celebrated its 50th anniversary making it the world’s largest and longest running helicopter tour company.

He has also been instrumental in the development of quiet technology. As the concern for noise over the Grand Canyon increased in the 1980s, Halvorson helped to create a quieter version of the S-55. In 1993, he formed Whisper Jet Inc. and partnered with Vertical Aviation Technology. They transformed a noisy 1950s design into a modern machine we know today.

Halvorson has been honored with many awards over the years, notably the Lawrence D Bell Memorial Award, and the esteemed Vertical Flight Hall of Fame Award. He is a philanthropic leader of the community, including administering the Halvorson Charities Fund. Halvorson stands as a “Pathfinder,” inspiring future generations with his entrepreneurial contributions to the helicopter industry.

Alan Mulally
Recipient in the Operations Category
Serving as President and CEO of the Ford Motor Company, Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA), and President of Boeing Defense and Space group, Alan Mulally has received worldwide recognition for his leadership and groundbreaking industry strategy. Fascinated with the art and science of flight, Mulally became a pilot in his teens and pursued studies in aeronautics and astronautics engineering, earning a Bachelors and Masters of Science from University of Kansas. In 1969, Mulally joined Boeing and advanced through a number of notable engineering and project leadership positions involving the 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777 and 787 airplanes. Mulally became known for his ability to tackle air safety challenges, earning the 1978 Boeing Employee of the Year award.

In 1982, Mulally became the BCA Renton Division Technical Staff Chief. In this position he was awarded in 1986 the AIAA Technical Management Award and the Space Technology ‘Laurels’ recognition for his research on airframe contamination and wind shear at BCA. Mulally was later appointed to lead technical development of the Boeing 777. In addition to pioneering many design advancements, Mulally’s insight and approach to this assignment revolutionized the organization and culture at Boeing. Employing “Working Together” principles-encouraging the creation of cross-departmental design/build teams-Mulally opened new lines of communication between the workforce and management; improving overall efficiency. The 777 earned his team the National Aeronautical Associations Collier Trophy in 1995, and he was awarded “Engineer of the Year” by Design News in 1996. In 1998, Mulally was named President of BCA, and became CEO in 2001.

In 2006, Mulally joined Ford Motor Company as President and CEO, transforming Ford’s culture and financial performance. He built a visionary platform known as “One Ford” which instituted a transparent team-focused work environment amongst workers and the development of new, profitable, fuel efficient, smart products. Unique among US auto companies, he saved Ford from bankruptcy, earning him Morningstar’s CEO of the year in 2010, one of “The World’s Most Influential People” by TIME magazine, and many other accolades.

Mulally is an inspiration and Pathfinder for generations to come and an example of what can be achieved through determination, diligence, vision and most importantly “working together.”

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