“For more than six decades, Aviation Week editors have annually awarded Laureates to great achievers in aerospace and aviation,” said Aviation Week Network Editorial Director Joe Anselmo. “This year's winners embody the spirit of exploration, innovation and vision that will inspire others to strive for broad-reaching progress in aviation, aerospace and defense”

2020 Winners

Business Aviation

MRO - Robotic Skies
Anticipating widespread growth in commercial unmanned aircraft, Robotic Skies has created a global network of repair stations to maintain and service the burgeoning fleet.

Operations - Rega Swiss Air-Rescue
To operate in reduced visibility in mountainous terrain, Rega helped develop a low-altitude helicopter instrument route and approach system using satellite navigation.

Platform - Gulfstream G500/G600
Laying the foundations for a new generation of large-cabin, long-range Gulfstreams, the G500 and G600 feature the Symmetry flight deck including fly-by-wire, active sidesticks and touchscreen controls.    

Propulsion - Pratt & Whitney PT6E
Pratt & Whitney’s next-generation PT6E is the first general aviation turboprop to feature dual-channel integrated electronic propeller and engine control.

Safety - Garmin Autoland
The push of a red button in an emergency by a pilot or passenger activates Garmin’s Autoland, a virtual co-pilot that takes control and lands the aircraft automatically.

Technology & Innovation - Wing Aviation
A subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet, Wing in April 2019 became the first commercial drone delivery service to be awarded a Part 135 air carrier certificate by the FAA. 

Commercial Aviation

Air Traffic Management – Aireon
Aireon is the first satellite-based air traffic surveillance system and provides continuous tracking of aircraft over oceans and remote regions. 

Airline Strategy – Adel Ali, CEO, Air Arabia
In Air Arabia, CEO Adel Ali has built a sustainably profitable low-cost carrier pioneering the business model in the Middle East. 

Leadership - David Neeleman, airline entrepreneur
Having established multiple airlines including Morris Air, JetBlue Airways and Azul Linhas Aereas, David Neeleman is preparing to get “Moxie”, his latest venture, off the ground.

MRO – Donecle
French company Donecle is the leader in performing aircraft visual inspections by automated drone, cutting inspection times by 90%. 

Platforms - Airbus A321LR
The first long-range version of the Airbus A321neo, the A321LR is developing a new market niche - narrowbodies flying in secondary long-haul markets. 

Propulsion - Rolls-Royce
Rolls-Royce’s surprise acquisition of Siemens’ eAircraft unit has catapulted the engine manufacturer into a leading position in the electrification of aircraft propulsion.

Sustainability – Boeing ecoDemonstrator
Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program has completed six test campaigns, the aircraft serving as a tools to accelerate development and testing of new technology.


Best New Product - Embraer C-390
The first C-390 tanker/transport, the largest and most sophisticated aircraft yet developed by
Embraer, was delivered to the Brazilian Air Force in 2019.

Manufacturing - Northrop Grumman F-35 Center Fuselage Production
In 10 months, Northrop Grumman increased F-35 center-fuselage production from six a month to 15. Part supply deliveries increased from 81,000 a year to 274,000. 

MRO - BAE Systems Typhoon Total Availability Enterprise
Combining Eurofighter support packages into one program focused on management of the Royal Air Force fleet has lowered Typhoon support costs by around 38%. 

Platforms - Bell V-280 Valor
From low-speed agility to speeds beyond 280 kt., Bell’s V-280 advanced tiltrotor has met or exceeded objectives under the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi-Role demonstration. 

Propulsion - AFRL Medium Scale Critical Components Scramjet Program
In a test by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and Air Force Test Center, a Northrop Grumman scramjet set a record for thrust produced by a U.S. air-breathing hypersonic engine.

Technology & Innovation - Kratos XQ-58 Valkyrie
Developed for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, Kratos’ XQ-58 Valkyrie blurs the traditional boundaries between a disposable cruise missile and reusable unmanned aircraft.

Weapons - Missile Defense Agency/Boeing Ground-based Midcourse Defense FTG-11
In March 2019, two interceptors launched from Vandenberg AFB, California, shot down two ICBM
targets in the most realistic test yet of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system. 


Launch Services - Spaceflight Industries
Spaceflight Industries has created a new way to deliver small satellites to space by allowing government and commercial operators to share the ride. 

Operations - HawkEye 360
U.S. startup HawkEye 360 has launched the first commercial service for geolocating radio-frequency signals from space, using satellites that fly in a unique formation. 

Platforms - Mars Cube One Mission
In the first demonstration of cubesats in deep space, the Mars Cube One mission relayed near-real-time telemetry of the entry, descent and landing of NASA’s Insight.

Propulsion - Reaction Engines
Reaction Engines has demonstrated its pre-cooler at temperatures representative of hypersonic speeds, a critical milestone toward development of its air-breathing rocket engine.

Space Science - Chang’e 4 Moon Landing
With the January 2019 touchdown of the Chang’e 4 robotic lunar lander in the Von Kármán Crater, China became the first country to soft-land on the Moon’s far side. 

Supplier Innovation - OneWeb Satellites
In a unique transatlantic venture between mega-constellation operator OneWeb and aerospace manufacturer Airbus, OneWeb Satellites is bringing aircraft mass production to satellite manufacturing. 

Technology & Innovation - RemoveDEBRIS Mission
In a groundbreaking series of on-orbit tests, the European-funded RemoveDEBRIS mission demonstrated active debris removal technologies designed to clean up low Earth orbit.


Lifetime Achievement

Robert Leduc - President, Pratt & Whitney
LeDuc came out of retirement and used his leadership skills to shake up the corporate team and guide the PW1000G geared turbofan program through its challenging service introduction and production ramp-up and onto the road to success.

Tomorrow’s Leaders

Aviation Week will honor the commitment of these four cadets and midshipmen from U.S. military academies. They will receive this award honoring young men and women who have chosen career paths in the armed forces.

C/Capt. Matthew Richard Arnold    
U.S. Military Academy

Cadet Captain Matthew R. Arnold is studying mechanical engineering with a minor in aeronautical engineering at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. There, he is part of a capstone team working with the Army Aviation Development Directorate (ADD) in exploring the effects of incorporating active flow control and fairings to the hub and shaft of helicopters. Over the past two summers, Cadet Arnold has worked with ADD in both the testing of new blades on the UH-60M helicopter and in the recalibration of their 7 by 10 foot wind tunnel operated out of NASA Ames. Cadet Arnold also currently serves on the Corps’ Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Staff and plays the Euphonium in the band. Upon graduation in May, he will commission as a second lieutenant as an Army Aviation officer and begin flight school shortly thereafter, where he aims to fly the AH-64 Apache.

Cadet 1/c Jacob Patrick Cheeseman    
U.S. Coast Guard Academy

Cadet 1/c Jacob Cheeseman has been involved in the aviation community since he was born. Growing up outside the U.S. Air Force Academy as the son of an Airline and former USAF A-10 pilot, Jacob first thought of attending the U.S Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) in elementary school. That dream led him to join the great Class of 2021. 1/C Cheeseman’s primary inspiration at the Academy comes from a passion for the missions of the Coast Guard, especially search and rescue and law enforcement, and the special role of Coast Guard aviation in executing these missions. Studying Operations Research and Computer Analysis at the Academy, 1/c Cheeseman has worked hard to rank near the top of his class. Currently, 1/c Cheeseman serves as the Regimental Activities Officer, organizing and executing events for over 1,000 cadets. In addition, Jacob serves as one of the Aviation Club Presidents. Previously, 1/c Cheeseman helped lead the Academy’s Aviation Career Week, including hosting aircrew from USCG Air Station Clearwater to discuss hurricane response. This past summer, 1/c Cheeseman continued to learn more about Coast Guard aviation by serving as an intern at the Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center and at Air Station Traverse City. 1/c Cheeseman hopes to attend U.S. Naval Flight Training upon commissioning in May 2021.

MIDN 1/C Patrick N. Simons    
U.S. Naval Academy

MIDN Simons grew up in Westbury, NY and graduated from Chaminade High School in 2016 where he was class Salutatorian. He reported to the United States Naval Academy (USNA) with the Class of 2020. He is now less than a semester away from graduating with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering (Astronautical). During his Senior Year, he served as the Commander of USNA’s 25th Company, leading its 150 midshipmen while maintaining his cumulative GPA of 3.95. Over his Summer Trainings, MIDN Simons served as a USNA Plebe Summer Detailer, training incoming freshman; graduated from Army Airborne School in Fort Benning, GA; and interned as a research assistant in the Naval Postgraduate School’s Spacecraft Robotics Laboratory. He has completed the Washington DC North Face Endurance Challenge, USMC Marathon, and, most recently, the 2019 JFK 50-Miler. ). Upon graduation in May, he will commission as an Ensign in the United States Navy and report to Naval Air Station Pensacola to begin flight training as a Naval Aviator (Pilot).

Cadet 1/C Albert Q. Thieu    
U.S. Air Force Academy

The son of Vietnam War refugees, Cadet Albert Thieu, decided to attend the Air Force Academy as a way to give back to a nation that had given his family a home as well as pursue his dreams of becoming an astronaut. Once at the Academy, Cadet Thieu declared as an Astronautical Engineering major, contributing extensively to the FalconSAT program and signing on as a cadet intern for Aerospace Corporation for a six-week term in the summer of 2019, helping develop small satellite systems design tools. Additionally, Cadet Thieu assisted in research efforts to develop an exoplanet observation capability at USAFA, refining noise algorithms in order to obtain quality observations rivalling much larger telescopes. Apart from astronautics work, Cadet Thieu is minoring in Philosophy, commanded Cadet Squadron 23 for the Fall Semester, and founded USAFA’s first extramural tennis team, which won the Intermountain regional title in the spring of 2019. Thieu intends to continue his studies in satellite and telescope engineering at graduate school, then enter Air Force pilot training.