John Travolta, the “Official Ambassador of Aviation” hosted the 21st annual “Living Legends of Aviation Awards” on Jan. 19, 2024, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Actors Morgan Freeman and Kurt Russell, musician Kenny G, and more than 70 Living Legends of Aviation were also there to make the evening unforgettable.

Highlights of the evening included Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex being inducted as a Living Legend. He spent the first 10 years of his adulthood serving in the British Army, including two tours of duty in Afghanistan as a forward air controller and an Apache helicopter pilot.

“I am proud to be recognized amongst such a dynamic and inspiring group of individuals,” said Prince Harry. “For me flying has been a transcendent experience; a close encounter with magic, an invitation to both protect freedom and to feel free.”

Lauren Sánchez received the “Elling Halvorson Vertical Flight Hall of Fame Award.” Ms. Sánchez is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, news anchor, and founder of Black Ops Aviation, one of the first female-owned aerial film and production companies.

“As I’m accepting this award tonight, I do so with a promise to continue to be an advocate and a mentor to pave the way for more women in aviation,” said Ms. Sánchez.

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Other award recipients included:

  • Mark Burns received the “Lifetime Aviation Industry Leader Award.” Mr. Burns was named president of Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. in July 2015. He has spent more than 35 years with Gulfstream.
  • Laurans A. Mendelson, received the “Kenn Ricci Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award.” Mr. Mendelson is the Chairman, President and CEO of HEICO.
  • Kyle Clark received the “Eren Ozmen Entrepreneur of the Year Award.” Mr. Clark Founded BETA Technologies, a Vermont-based electric aircraft startup in 2017.
  • Linden Blue received the first “Dr. Sam B Williams Technology Award.” Gregg Williams, President and CEO of Williams International honored his Father by presenting the inaugural award to Mr. Blue, who is the Vice Chairman of General Atomics.
  • Lance Toland received the “Freedom of Flight Award.” Mr. Toland is the owner of Lance Toland Associates, one of the most respected names in aviation insurance worldwide.
Steve Hinton

In addition to Prince Harry, three others were inducted as Living Legends including:

  • Fred GeorgeMr. George was a Navy pilot with over 300 carrier landings and is now a world-renowned aviation writer.
  • Steve Hinton – Mr. Hinton is an American aviator who held a world speed record from 1979 – 1989. He has flown as a pilot for films, working on approximately 100 motion pictures and TV productions.
  • Marc ParentMr. Parent is President and CEO of CAE and led CEA’s growth in simulation products and training and support services in commercial and business aviation, defense, security, and healthcare sectors.

The Legends also paid tribute to four Legends who have “Flown West” in the past year: Singer Jimmy Buffett, Gulfstream executive Larry Flynn, pilot and explorer Hamish Harding, and actor Treat Williams.

The “Living Legends of Aviation Awards” are produced by the Kiddie Hawk Air Academy, a 501-c-3 non-profit organization. Kiddie Hawk’s mission is to educate children about and spark their interest in aviation. Visit for more information.