2017 Collier Trophy Nominees Announced

The National Aeronautic Association will choose an aerospace pioneer in March to be awarded the trophy in June

The National Aeronautic Association on Monday announced the nine nominees for the annual Collier Trophy award honoring “the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America” in 2017.

NAA will announce the winner on March 23 and hold an awards dinner on June 14. The winner’s name will be engraved on the trophy, joining such luminaries as Orville Wright and the Apollo 11 astronauts. The trophy will be brought to the dinner from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Letters supporting a nominee can be sent to the NAA through Feb. 28. The majority of the Collier contestants typically apply on behalf of themselves, but aerospace companies also sometimes nominate others. Last year’s winner was the Blue Origin team that built the New Shepard reusable rocket.

Here are the nominees for 2017:

The NASA Joint Propulsion Laboratory Cassini project team for its work on the probe mission that ended in 2017 after spending 13 years studying Saturn.

The F-35 Integrated Test Force team at Edwards Air Force Base, California, for demonstrating and testing the joint strike fighter.

Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences of Virginia and the U.S. Marine Corps Office of Naval Research for their tests in 2017 of the Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System, a kit of sensors and computers that can equip conventional helicopters to fly autonomously on missions deemed too dangerous for pilots.

The Air Line Pilots Association and the U.S. Transportation Safety Administration for their A4A Known Crewmember and TSA PreCheck programs, which are designed to collect information about flight employees and passengers in advance with the aim of reducing security lines at airports.

Boeing for its 737 MAX narrow-body passenger jetliner that began commercial flights last year as the latest version of the 737 jet series.

The Oregon-based Perlan Project, an atmospheric research group founded in 1992, for the flight last September of its Perlan 2 glider that it said broke the world record for unpowered flight by reaching an altitude of 15,902 meters.

The Minnesota-based Cirrus Aircraft for its Vision SF50, which in 2016 announced it became the first civilian-made single engine jet to be certified by the FAA. The Vision SF50 became available to customers last year.

Vanilla Aircraft based in Virginia for its VA001 unmanned aircraft, which in October landed at NASA Wallops Flight Facility after flying for five days, one hour and 24 minutes. Vanilla says that makes it the longest unmanned flight of an internal combustion aircraft.

The Zee Aero Division of the Kitty Hawk Corp., a startup based in Silicon Valley with investment from Google co-founder Larry Page, for electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, or eVTOLs.

Bronze sculpture atop a wooden pedestal with an engraved plate, depicting a figure riding a wave or cloud. The engraving reads:
The Robert J. Collier Trophy Credit: National Aeronautic Association

2017 Collier Trophy Nominees Announced