Aviation Week Presents 2021 Laureates As Industry Emerges From Storm

Laureates winners
Credit: Nathan Mitchell Photography

Having been driven into the virtual world for the better part of a year by a pandemic, aviation and aerospace luminaries emerged in person to celebrate the industry’s best and brightest at Aviation Week’s 64th annual Laureate Awards. Before an audience of nearly 250 guests gathered in a ballroom outside Washington, Aviation Week editors presented some two dozen awards, honoring accomplishments that included a helicopter on Mars, a certified electric airplane, aviation’s role in the speedy development of a COVID-19 vaccine and an initiative to teach people with disabilities how to fly. Also honored were two Lifetime Achievement winners and two dozen top students pursuing aviation or aerospace careers (AW&ST Oct. 11-24, p. 62). “This year’s awards are extra special as they salute achievements made during one of the most trying periods our industry has ever experienced,” Aviation Week Editorial Director Joe Anselmo told the winners. “Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, we put our heads down and pushed ahead, innovating and charting new frontiers.”

2021 Laureate Winners


Dan Hart, Virgin Orbit

Northrop Grumman Mission Extension Vehicle

SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2

Grand Laureate: NASA/JPL Mars Ingenuity


Boeing Airpower Teaming System

GE Aviation XA100

U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Golden Horde

Grand Laureate: U.S. Space Force Establishment


Michael Schoellhorn, Airbus

Boeing Sustainable Aviation Fuel Initiative

GE Aviation Junior Officer Leadership Program

Grand Laureate: Boeing 737 MAX Joint Authorities Technical Review



International Aircraft Dealers Association

Pfizer Corporate Flight Department

Grand Laureate: Pipistrel Velis Electro


Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin

Robert Leduc, Pratt & Whitney (2020 winner)


Midshipman Lt. Dan Curren, U.S. Naval Academy

Cadet 3/c Alexander W. Regan, U.S. Coast Guard Academy

Cadet Capt. Emma Sophia San Martin, U.S. Military Academy

Cadet 1st Class Benjamin Waters, U.S. Air Force Academy


Space Laureates
Aviation Week Executive Editor for Defense and Space Jen DiMascio (left) and Aerospace Daily Editor-in-Chief Jeff Morris (right) flank this year’s Space Laureate winners. Credit: Nathan Mitchell Photography
Space Laureate
Larry James accepted the Grand Laureate on behalf of the NASA/JPL Mars Ingenuity mission. Credit: Nathan Mitchell Photography

Commercial Aviation

Commercial Laureates
Air Transport World Editor-in-Chief Karen Walker (left) joins the 2021 Commercial Aviation Laureate Winners. 
Credit: Nathan Mitchell Photography
Commercial Aviation Laureates
The Grand Laureate was awarded to the Boeing 737 MAX Joint Authorities Technical Review and was accepted by the joint regulatory group’s chairman, Christopher Hart. Credit: Nathan Mitchell Photography


Defense Laureates
Aviation Week Pentagon Editor Brian Everstine (left) and Defense Editor Steve Trimble (right) flank winners of the 2021 Defense Laureates. Credit: Nathan Mitchell Photography
Defense Laureates
The Grand Laureate, which recognized the creation of the U.S. Space Force, was accepted virtually by U.S. Space Force Staff Director Lt. Gen. Nina Armagno. Credit: U.S. Air Force

Business Aviation

Business Aviation Laureate winners
Molly McMillin (left), editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, and Aviation Week Senior Editor Bill Carey (right) join this year’s Business Aviation Laureate winners. Credit: Nathan Mitchell Photography
Business Aviation Laureate winner
The Grand Laureate went to Pipistrel for certifying the first electric aircraft. Chief Technology Officer Tine Tomazic accepted the award. Credit: Nathan Mitchell Photography
Tomorrow's leaders Laureates winners
Credit: Nathan Mitchell Photography

The 64th annual Laureate Awards event culminated with recognition of Tomorrow’s Leaders. The 20 Twenties, top students pursuing careers in aerospace and aviation, were profiled in our Oct. 11-24 issue, starting on page 62.

Laureates cadets winners
Also honored were an outstanding cadet from each of the four U.S. service academies. The four cadets,  pictured with Aviation Week Network President Gregory Hamilton (right), are, from left: Cadet Capt. Emma Sophia San Martin, Cadet 3/c Alexander W. Regan, Midshipman Lt. Dan Curren and Cadet 1st Class Benjamin Waters. Credit: Nathan Mitchell Photography
Philip J. Klass Lifetime Achievement Award winner
Credit: Nathan Mitchell Photography

Marillyn Hewson (right) joined Lockheed in 1983 as an industrial engineer and rose through 20 management positions to become Lockheed Martin’s first female chair and CEO in 2013.

Before stepping down as CEO in mid-2020, Hewson earned a reputation as one of the most accomplished U.S. chief executives, presiding over the challenging ramp-up of the global F-35 program and achieving robust earnings and record backlogs. The award was presented by Aviation Week Executive Editor for Defense and Space Jen DiMascio.

Philip J. Klass Lifetime Achievement Award winne
Credit: Nathan Mitchell Photography

Robert Leduc (right) won Aviation Week’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020 but had to wait a year to accept it because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Leduc came out of retirement to return to Pratt & Whitney as president, guiding the PW1000G geared turbofan engine program through a challenging service introduction and production ramp-up and setting it on a path to success. The award was presented by Aviation Week Senior Business Editor Michael Bruno.

Video Learn more about the careers of Hewson and Leduc: