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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.




1993 – Herb Kelleher, Southwest Airlines

1994 – Senator Wendell Ford, U.S. Senate

1995 – Edward W. Stimpson, GAMA

1996 – Joint FAA/JAA 777 Certification Team

1997 – James A. Wilding, MWAA

1998 – Robert Crandall, American Airlines

1999 – Donald D. Engen

2000 – Najeeb Halaby

2001 – L. Welch Pogue

2002 – Alan S. Boyd

2003 – Not Awarded

2004 – Don Lopez, NASM

2005 – STS-114 Discovery Shuttle Crew

2006 – Scott Crossfield

2007 – Langhorne Bond

2008 – Phil Boyer

2009 – William DeCota

2010 – Carl W. Vogt

2011 – Jane Garvey

2012 – National Aviation Hall of Fame

2013 – The Tuskegee Airmen

2014 – Charles “Chip” Barclay

2015 – Will Ris

2016 – Walter J. Boyne 

The Aero Club is proud to award the

2016 Donald D. Engen Aero Club Trophy



Walter J. Boyne

Walter J. Boyne is a retired US Air Force officer, command pilot, combat veteran, aviation historian and prolific author of more than  50 books and over 1,000 magazine articles. He is a former director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and a former Chairman of the National Aeronautic Association.

He has dedicated six decades of his life to the growth, development, advancement, education, and understanding of aviation to people in the United States of America and around the world.  As a renowned author, historian, pilot, and leader, his impact has been felt by millions of people.