The Aero Club of Washington was originally founded to promote the Wright Brothers and their efforts. Their initial achievement defined aviation, established excellence as a standard and placed America in a role of global preeminence. The Aero Club seeks to commemorate the Wright Brothers’ historic actions by awarding an annual Trophy for Aviation Excellence.
In 1999, after the tragic death of Admiral Don Engen, director of the National Air & Space Museum at the time, the Aero Club Board voted to present the Trophy to Don Engen posthumously. It was accepted in October 1999 by his widow, Mary Engen. The Board had also voted to name the Trophy after Don Engen, and at that same luncheon, the Trophy became the “Donald D. Engen Aero Club Trophy for Aviation Excellence.” The permanent Trophy resides in the National Air & Space Museum.