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Robert J. Collier Trophy

awarded annually by the National Aeronautic Association "for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the perferormance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the previous year"

The only son of Collier Publishing founder P.F. Collier commissioned this trophy in 1910, while he was serving as president of the Aero Club of America, National Chapter (now the National Aeronautic Association), with the intent to encourage the American aviation community to strive for excellence and achievement.

Robert J. Collier Trophy


1911 Glenn H. Curtiss, for development of the hydro-aeroplane.

1912 Glenn H. Curtiss, for the flying boat.

1913 Orville Wright, for development of the automatic stabilizer.

1914 Elmer A. Sperry, for gyroscopic control.

1915 W. Starling Burgess, for Burgess-Dunne hydro-aeroplane.

1916 Elmer A. Sperry, for the Sperry drift indicator.

1917-1920 no trophies awarded

1921 Grover C. Loening, for his aerial yacht.

1922 U.S. Air Mail Service, for a year's operation without a single fatal accident.

1923 U.S. Air Mail Serive, for night flying in commercial transportation.

1924 U.S. Army Air Service, for first aerial flight around the world.

1925 Sylvanus Albert Reed, for development of the metal airplane propellor.

1926 Majot Edward L. Hoffman, for development of a practical parachute.

1927 Charles L. Lawrence, for development of radial air-cooled aircraft engines.

1928 Aeronautics Branch, Department of Commerce, for development of aiways and air navigation facilities.

1929 National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, for development of cowling for radial air-cooled engines.

1930 Harold F. Pitcairn and his associates, for development and application of the autogiro.

1931 Packard Motor Car Company, for development of the diesel aircraft engine.

1932 Glenn L. Martin, for development of a high-speed weight-carrying airplane.

1933 Hamilton Standard Propellor Company and Frank Walker Caldwell, Chief Engineer, for controllable pitch propellor.

1934 Capt. A.F. Hegenberger, U.S. Army Air Corps, for development of a successful blind landing system.

1935 Donald W. Douglas and his technical and production personnel, for outstanding twin-engined transport airplane.

1936 Pan American Airways, for the development of the trans-Pacific airplane and the successful execution of extended overwater navigation in the regular operation thereof.

1937 U.S. Army Air Corps, for developing, equipping, and flying the first successful pressure cabin airplane, the XC-35.

1938 Howard Hughes and his associates, for their epoch-making round-the-world flight in 91 hours 14 minutes.

1939 Airline of the United States, for their high record of safety in air travel, with special recognition to Drs. Walter M. Boothby and W. Randolph Lovelace II of the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research and Capt. Harry G. Armstrong of the U.S. Army Medical Corps at Wright Field, for their contribution to this safety record through their work in aviation medicine in general and pilot fatigue in particular.

1940 Dr. Sanford A. Moss and the Army Air Corps, for development of the turbo-supercharger.

1941 The Army Air Services and the Airlines of the United States, for pioneering world-wide air transportation vital to immediate defense and ultimate victory.

1942 Gen. H. H. Arnold, U.S. Army, for his organization and leadership of the Army Air Forces throughout the world.

1943 Capt. Luis De Florez, U.S. Navy Reserve, for his contribution to the safe and rapid training of combat pilots and crews.

1944 Gen. Carl A. Apaatz, Army Air Firces, for demonstrating the air power concept through employment of American aviation in the war against Germany.

1945 Dr. Luis W. Alvarez, for his conspicuous and outstanding initiative in the concept of, and his contribution to the construction, adaptation, and effective use of the ground control approach system for safe landing of aircraft under all weather and traffic conditions.

1946 Lewis A. Rodert, chief of the Flight Research Branch at the Cleveland Laboratory of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, for his pioneering research and guidance in the development and practical application of a thermal ice prevention system for aircraft.

1947 John Stack, research scientist, NACA, for pioneering research to determine the physical laws affecting supersonic flight, and for his conception of transonic research airplanes. Lawrence D. Bell, president, Bell Aircraft Corporation, for the design and construction of the special research airplane, X-1. Capt. Charles E. Yeager, U.S. Air Force, for being the first to achieve human flight faster than sound on October 14, 1947 in the X-1.

1948 The Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics, for the establishment of a guide plan for the development and implementation of a system of air navigation and traffic control to facilitate safe and unlimited aircraft operations under all weather conditions.

1949 William P. Lear, for development of the F-5 automatic pilot and automatic approach control coupler system.

1950 The helicopter industry, the military services, and the Coast Guard, for development and use of rotary-wing aircraft for air rescue operations.

1951 John Stack and his associates at Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, NACA, for the conception, development, and practical application of the transonic wind tunnel throat.

1952 Leonard S. Hobbs of United Aircraft Corp., for design, development, and production of the J-57 jet engine.

1953 James H. Kindelberger, for the North American land-based F-100. Edward H. Heinemann, for the Douglass carrier-based F4D.

1954 Richard Travis Whitcomb, NACA research scientist, for discover and experimental verification of the area rule, a contribution to base knowledge yielding significantly higher airplane speed and greater range with same power.

1955 William M. Allen and his associates at Boeing Airplane Company, for conception, development and quantity production of America's first all-jet, long-range bomber, the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. Gen. Nathan F. Twining and the U.S. Air Force, for sponsoring and making the B-52 Stratofortress operational in 1955 as a powerful weapon of peace.

1956 Charles J. McCarthy and associates of Chance-Vought Aircraft, Incorporated and Vice Admiral James S. Russell and associates of the U.S. Navy Bureau of Aeronautics, for conception, design, and development of the F-8U Crusader, a carrier-based fighter which is the first operational aircraft capable of speeds exceeding one thousand miles an hour.

1957 Edward P. Curtis, for his report entitled "Aviation Facilities Planning," which represented a dramatic advance in the field of long-range planning to meet the complex problems involved in the use by aircraft of our air service.

1958 The United States Air Force and industry team responsible for the F-104 Interceptor -- Clarence L. Johnson of Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, for the design of the airframe. Neil Burgess and Gerhard Neumann of the Flight Propulsion Division. General Electric Company, for development of its J-79 turbo jet engines. Maj. Howard C. Johnson, U.S. Air Force, for establishing a world land plane altitude record of 91,243 feet. Capt. Walter W. Irwin, U.S. Air Force, for establishing a world straightaway speed record of 1,404.09 miles per hour.

1959 The United States Air Force, the Convair Division of General Dynamics Corporation, and Space Technology Laboratories, Inc., for developing, testing, producing, and putting into operaation the Atlas, America's first intercontinental ballistic missile so vital to the security and space exploration needs of the United States and the free world.

1960 Vice Admiral William F. Raborn, U.S. Navy, under whose direction the Navy, science, and industry created the operational fleet ballistic missile weapon system Polaris.

1961 Maj. Robert M. White, U.S. Air Force; Joseph A. Walker, NASA; A. Scott Crossfield, North American Aviation; and Cmdr. Forrest Petersen, U.S. Navy, for invluable technological contributions to the advancement of flight and for great skill and courage as test pilots of the X-15.

1962 Lt. Cmdr. Malcolm Scott Carpenter, U.S. Navy; Maj. L. Gordon Cooper, U.S. Air Force; Lt. Col. John H. Glenn, Jr., U.S. Marine Corps; Maj. Virgil I. Grissom, U.S. Air Force; Cmdr. Walter M. Schirra, Jr., U.S. Navy; Cmdr. Alan B. Shepard, Jr., U.S. Navy; Maj. Donald K. Slayton, U.S. Air Force; for pioneering manned space flight in the United States.

1963 Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson, for designing and directing the development of the USAF A-11 Mach 3 aircraft.

1964 General Curtis E. LeMay, for development of high performance aircraft, missiles, and space systems which in 1964 significantly expanded the frontiers of American aeronautics and astronautics.

1965 James E. Webb and Hugh L. Dryden, representing all of the Gemini program teams which significantly advanced human experience in space flight.

1966 James S. McDonnell, for his leadership and perseverance in advancing aeronautics and astronautics exemplified by the F-4 Phantom aircraft and the Gemini space vehicles.

1967 Lawrence A. Hyland, representing the Surveyor Program Team at Hughes Aircraft Company, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and associated organizations that put the eyes and hands of the United States on the Moon.

1968 Col. Frank Borman, U.S. Air Force; Capt. James A. Lovell, Jr., U.S. Navy; and Lt. Col. William A. Anders, U.S. Air Force; as the crew of Apollo 8 and representing the entire United States space flight team for the successful and flawless execution of the first manned lunar orbit mission in history.

1969 Neil A. Armstrong; Col. Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., U.S. Air Force; and Col. Michael Collins, U.S. Air Force, for the epic flight of Apollo 11 and the first landing of man on the surface of the Moon on July 20, 1969.

1970 The Boeing Company, as leader of the industry-airline-government team which successfully introduced the 747 into commercial service, with particular recognition to Pratt and Whitney Division of United Aircraft Corporation and to Pan American World Airways.

1971 Col. David R. Scott, U.S. Air Force; Col. James B. Irwin, U.S. Air Force; and Lt. Col. Alfred M. Worden, U.S. Air Force; for demonstrating superb skill and courage, and to Dr. Robert T. Gilruth as representative of the engineering genius of the manned space flight team, culminating in Apollo 15, man's most prolonged and scientifically productive lunar mission.

1972 The officers and men of the 7th Air Force and 8th Air Force of the United States Air Force and Task Force 77 of the United States Navy, for successfully carrying our operation Linebacker II, the air campaign against North Vietnam in December 1972 which through precise, accurate, and determined attacks on key military targets in the face of unprecedented defenses, brought about a cease fire under terms which attained United States objectives in Southeast Asia.

1973 The Skylab Program, with special recognition to William C. Schneider, program director, and the three Skylab astronaut crews, for proving beyond question the value of man in future explorations of space and the production of data of benefit to all the people on Earth.

1974 Dr. John F. Clark, NASA, and Daniel J. Fink, General Electric Company, representing the NASA/Industry team responsible for the Earth Resources Technology Program (LANDSAT), for proving in 1974 the value of U.S. space technology in the management of the Earth's resources and environment for the benefit of all mankind, with special recognition to Hughes Aircraft Company and RCA.

1975 David S. Lewis of General Dynamics Corporation and the F-16 Air Force Industry Team, for significant advancements in aviation technology leading to innovative fighter aircraft effectiveness.

1976 The U.S. Air Force/Rockwell International Corporation and the B-1 Industry Team, for the highly successful design, development, management, and flight test of the B-1 strategic aircraft system.

1977 Gen. Robert J. Dixon, Commander, and the U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Command, for developing and implementing Red Flag, an unprecedented combat simulated flight training program for aircrews of the U.S. Armed Forces, a significant contribution to national defense.

1978 Sam B. Williams, chairman and president, Williams Research Corporation, for conceiving and developing the world's smallest, high efficiency turbofan engine which was selected to power U.S. cruise missiles.

1979 Dr. Paul B. MacCready, for the concept, desig, and construction of the Gossamer Albatross, which made the first man-powered flight across the English Channel, with special recognition to Bryan Allen, the pilot.

1980 The Voyager Mission Team, represented by its chief scientist, Dr. Edward C. Stone, for the spectacular fly-by of Saturn and the return of basic new knowledge of the solar system.

1981 NASA, Rockwell International, Martin Marietta, Thiokol, and the entire government/industry team, for the improvement of the concept of manned reusable spacecraft, with special recognition to astronauts John Young, Robert Crippen, Joe Engle, and Richard Truly.

1982 T.A. Wilson and the Boeing Company, for the private development of two advanced technology transports, 757 and 767, with the support of the Federal Aviation Administration, industry, and the airlines.

1983 The United States Army, Hughes Aircraft Helicopters, and the industry team, for development of the AH-64A Apache advanced technology helicopter weapon system.

1984 NASA and Martin Marietta Corp., for the development of the MMUI and the NASA industry satellite rescue team and to astronaut Bruce McCandless, NASA's Charles R. Whitsett, Jr., and Martin Marietta's Walter W. Bollendonk.

1985 Russell W. Meyer, Cessna Aircraft Co., and Cessna's line of Citation Business Jet aircraft, for an unparalleled passenger safety record during the past 14 years since the Citation's introduction.

1986 Jeana L. Yeager, Richard G. Rutan, Elbert L. Rutan, and the Voyager Aircraft team of volunteers, for the ingenious design and development of the Voyager aircraft and their skillful execution of the first non-stop, non-refueled flight around the world.

1987 NASA Lewis Research Center and the NASA?Industry Advanced Turboprop Team, for the development of advanced turboprop propulsion concepts for single rotation, gearless counter rotation, and geared counter rotation inducted fan systems.

1988 Rear Admiral Richard H. Truly, U.S. Navy, for his assistance for the successful return of America to space.

1989 Benjamin R. Rich, Lockheed Aircraft Corp., and the United States Air Force team, for the F-117A stealth aircraft development.

1990 The Bell Boeing Team, for the development of the V-22 Osprey Tiltrotor, the world's first large-scale Tiltrotor aircraft.

1991 The Northrop Corporation, the industry team, and the United States Air Force, for the design, development, production, and flight testing of te B-2 aircraft, which has contributed significantly to America's enduring leadership in aerospace and the country's future national security.

1992 The Global Positioning System team, the United States Air Force, the United States Naval Research Laboratory, the Aerospace Corporation, Rockwell International Corporation, and IBM Federal Systems Company, for the most significant development for safe and efficient navigation and surveillance of air and spacecraft since the introduction of radio navigation 50 years ago.

1993 The Hubble Space Telescope Recovery Team, for outstanding leadership, intrepidity, and the renewal of public faith in America's space program by the successful orbital recovery and repair of the Hubble Space Telescope.

1994 The United States Air Force, the McDonnell Douglas Corporation, the United States Army, and the C-17 industrial team of subcontractors and suppliers, for designing, developing, testing, producing, and placing into service the C-17 Globemaster III, whose performance and efficiency make it the most versatile airlift aircraft in aviation history.

1995 The Boeing Company and the 777 team, for designing, manufacturing, and introducing into service the world's most advanced commercial airplane transport, the Boeing 777.

1996 Cessna Aircraft Company and the Citation X design team, for designing, testing, certifying, and placing into service the Citation X, the first commercial aircraft in U.S. aviation history to achieve a cruising speed of Mach .92.

1997 Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation and the Gulfstream V industry team, for successful application of advance design and efficient manufacturing techniques together with innovative international business partnerships, to place into customer service the Gulfstream V, the world's first ultra-long range business jet.

1998 Lockheed Martin Corporation, GE Aircraft Engines, NASA, U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command, and the Defense Intelligence Agency, for designing, manufacturing, and operating the U-2S/ER-2 high altitude, all-weather, multi-functional data collection aircraft, which serves as America's Sentinel of Peace around the world.

1999 The Boeing Company, GE Aircarft Engines, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Raytheon Corporation, and the United States Navy, for designing, manufacturing, testing, and introducing into service the F/A-18E/F multi-mission strike fighter aircraft, the most capable and survivable carrier-based combat aircraft.

2000 Northrop Grumman Corporation, Rolls-Royce, Raytheon Corporation, L-3 Communications, U.S. Air Force, and DARPA, for designing, building, testing, and operating Global Hawk, the first fully autonomous, operationally demonstrated, and most capable surveillance and reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle in the world.

2001 Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Gruman Corporation, BAE Systems, and the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office, for designing, developing, and demonstrating the Integrated Lift Pan Propulsion System, the next generation in aviation propulsion performance, efficiency, and safety.

2002 Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and the S-92 industry team, for designing, manufacturing, testing, and introducing into service the S-92 Helicopter, which raised "across-the-board" standards for rotary wing air travel.

2003 The Gulfstream G550 team, for leading edge achievement in designing, testing, and building an innovative aircraft while incorporating measurable safety enhancements and far-reaching advances in aerospace technology.

2004 Paul Allen, Burt Rutan, Doug Shane, Mike Melvill, Brian Binnie, and the entire Spaceship One team, for the successful development of the first privately financed, built, and flown space vehicle.

2005 Eclipse Aviation, for innovation in the advancement of general aviation through the design, dvelopment, and manufacture of the Eclipse 500, the world's first very light jet.

2006 Lockheed Martin Corporation, The Boeing Company, Pratt & Whitney, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Raytheon Corporation, BAE Systems, and the United States Air Force, for conceptualizing, developing, and initially implementing the next generation performance-based air-ground, ground-air, and air-air surveillance system.

2008 The Commercial Aviation Safety Team, for achieving an unprecedented safety level in U.S. commercial airline operations by reducing risk of a fatal airline accident by 83 percent, resulting in two consecutive years of no commercial scheduled airline fatalities.

2009 NASA and the International Space Station team of The Boeing Company, Draper Laboratory, Honeywell Corporation, Lockheed Martin Corporation, United Space Alliance, and United Technologies Corporation, for the design, development, and assembly in space of the world's largest spacecraft, an orbiting laboratory, promising new discoveries for mankind, and setting new standards for international cooperation in space.

2010 Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and the X2 Technology Demonstrator team, for demonstrating a revolutionary 250-knot helicopter, which marks a proven departure point for the future development of helicopters by greatly increasing their speed, maneuverability, and utility.

2011 The Boeing Company, for designing, building, certifying, delivering, and supporting the Boeing 787; demonstrating significant advances in the use of materials, technologies, and systems to enhance safety, performance, comfort, and value in commercial aircraft.

2012 The NASA/JPL Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Project Team, in recognition of the extraordinary achievements of successfully landing Curiosity on Mars, advancing the nation's technological and engineering capabilities, and significantly improving humanity's understanding of ancient Martian habitable environments.

2013 Northrop Grumman, the U.S. Navy, and the X-47B industry team, for developing and demonstrating the first unmanned, autonomous air system operating from an aircraft carrier.

2014 Gulfstream, for the development of the Gulfstream G650 Business Jet, which strengthened business aviation through significant technology advancements in aircraft performance, cabin comfort, and safety.

2015 The NASA/JPL Dawn Mission Team, in recognition of the extraordinary achievements of orbiting and exploring protoplanet Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres, and advancing the nation’s technological capabilities in pioneering new frontiers in space travel.

2016 Blue Origin New Shepard, for successfully demonstrating rocket booster reusability with the New Shepard human spaceflight vehicle through five successful test flights of a single booster and engine, all of which performed powered vertical landings on Earth.

For more information about the trophy see

Glenn L. Martin
Howard Hughes
Malcolm Scott Carpenter
John H. Glenn, Jr.
Virgil I. Grissom
Alan B. Shepard, Jr.
Surveyor Program
Frank Borman
Neil A. Armstrong
David R. Scott

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The Robinson Library >> Technology >> Aeronautics >> General

This page was last updated on 12/28/2017.