President’s Corner 4Q17 “To Honor and To Inspire”
The National Aviation Hall of Fame is the only federally chartered nonprofit organization in the country dedicated to, as its mission statement says, Honoring Aerospace Legends to Inspire Future Leaders. The NAHF, headquartered in Dayton OH , has honored over 200 Aerospace Legends since its inception in 1962, with four new Enshrinees added annually. This group of aviation pioneers, pilots, researchers, inventors, astronauts, leaders in commercial and government and other areas of aviation stimulates the imagination and creates awe in learning of their accomplishments.
But HONORING those whose shoulders we stand on is not enough. The NAHF also strives to INSPIRE future leaders and does this through it Learning Center. In addition to the physical Learning Center at the Museum of the US Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, the NAHF regularly reaches out to young people to excite them about careers in aviation. At its recent Enshrinement event in Alliance, TX, the value of this mission made itself most obvious.
I have the privilege of serving on the Board of Trustees for the NAHF and was invited to participate in the Wings of Women (WOW) event associated with the Enshrinement. The Young Women’s Leadership Academy sent 38 12 year old girls from disadvantaged backgrounds to participate for a day in the WOW event. Led and organized by a fellow trustee and retired USAF pilot/physician Dr. Kathryn Hughes, these inquisitive and intelligent young women immersed themselves in aviation for a day and came away INSPIRED by the future possibilities.
Their day included learning about Air Traffic Controller operations and careers with several hours spent with controllers in an active tower, meeting in small groups with two female US Air Force Academy cadet instructor pilots and squadron commanders, visiting a Lockheed-Martin virtual reality demonstration of helmet technology, “flying” in F-111 and A-10 simulator cockpits and sitting in multiple ejection seats courtesy in a mobile ejection seat museum. They spoke with female role models, pilots, aviation maintenance personnel and saw beautiful classic and modern aircraft in Ross Perot’s immaculate hangars. I spoke about careers in aviation medicine as well as piloting while escorting the energetic young ladies, responding to many perceptive questions. The culmination of their day was attending the practice air show from the NAHF flight line tent seeing such greats as Sean D. Tucker and the US Navy Blue Angels perform, as they dined with NAHF Enshrinees and their families. The picture below captures the excitement and joy for both the WOW preteens and their escorts.
Each of us in aviation contributes to HONORING our legacy in different ways. At AMAS, we aim to keep pilots healthy and flying through an education and assistance process. We also help train young aerospace medicine physicians and advocate for aviation safety in support of our clients. The HIMS program for pilots affected by the disease of substance abuse is a joint effort with pilots, companies, the FAA and addiction medicine professionals to restore health, lives and careers. As the holiday season approaches and we look to share our good fortune and our passion for aviation with others, please consider ways to INSPIRE young people and help others grow in our aviation industry. Take a young person up flying, talk to a class about aviation, visit a museum, show your uniform and talk about your flying adventures (all of us pilots do that very well.) The young person you inspire may become a future NAHF Enshrinee.
Fly Safely, Stay Healthy,
Quay Snyder, MD MSPH
Footnote: The DOT will implement new procedures for drug testing to include semi-synthetic opioids effective 1 January 2017. Please see the article by Dr. Phil Parker in this newsletter and my previous column on the opioid epidemic for more information