This press release was provided to AMA by the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
Dayton, OH September 28, 2023 – The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) is proud to announce that the prestigious Milton Caniff Spirit of Flight Award was presented to NASA’s Mars Helicopter Team in recognition of their groundbreaking achievements in aerospace innovation and exploration.
The Milton Caniff Spirit of Flight Award is bestowed upon individuals or groups who have displayed exceptional dedication, creativity, and achievement in the field of aviation and aerospace. The NASA Mars Helicopter Team has demonstrated unparalleled ingenuity, contributing to a historic milestone in the exploration of our solar system.
The Mars Helicopter, or Ingenuity, successfully completed its first powered, controlled flight on another planet on April 19, 2021. This remarkable accomplishment marked the first powered flight of an aircraft on Mars and opened new horizons for planetary exploration. Ingenuity has gone on to far exceed expectations for performance and useful life. As of this month, the aircraft has logged nearly 60 flights. The team behind this groundbreaking achievement pushed the boundaries of what was thought possible in planetary aviation.
The Milton Caniff Spirit of Flight Award recognizes not only the scientific and engineering excellence of the Mars Helicopter Team but also their ability to inspire future generations to reach for the stars. The team’s unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of flight and exploration aligns perfectly with the values embodied by the award’s namesake, Milton Caniff, a renowned aviation artist and storyteller.
The NAHF Milton Caniff “Spirit of Flight” Award was created in 1981 to acknowledge significant contributions to aviation made by a group or organization. It is named in honor of noted artist and aviation enthusiast the late Milton Caniff, a longtime NAHF supporter. Among previous recipients of the “Spirit of Flight” Award have been the Doolittle Raiders, Apollo Crewmen, Tuskegee Airmen, and Women Airforce Service Pilots.
The award was formally presented during The President’s Reception on September 21, 2023, as part of the National Aviation Hall of Fame’s 59th Enshrinement Dinner and Ceremony. The President’s Reception, presented by sponsors Whelen Aerospace Technologies and Williams International, also featured the presentation of the A. Scott Crossfield Aerospace Teacher of the Year Award, the Congressional Leadership Award, and the Armstrong Aerospace Award.
For more information about Ingenuity, please visit:
About The National Aviation Hall of Fame-Since its foundation through an Act of Congress in 1964, the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) has confidently honored, celebrated, and shared the vision, innovation, skill, and courage of national heroes who lent their genius to further our nation’s aerospace legacy. 251 of the nation’s premier air and space pioneers have been inducted to date. The NAHF’s Heritage Hall and Education Center, located in Dayton, Ohio, welcomes nearly 400,000 visitors each year to share and celebrate our Enshrinees, their accomplishments, and their impact on developments in aviation, from early flight to space travel.
To help break down barriers and ensure that all children have equal access to quality aviation and aerospace education, the NAHF developed and launched a comprehensive STEAM-based education program, Discovering Flight: Learning with the NAHF. With partners at ThinkTV/PBS and support from The Ohio Department of Education, Cirrus Aircraft, Gulfstream, and others, the NAHF has launched the nation’s only standards-aligned aviation and aerospace STEAM classroom curriculum for grades PreK-6. The program will reach more than 6,500 classrooms over 180,000 students by the end of 2023.
For more information on the National Aviation Hall of Fame, please visit nationalaviation.org.