Lindbergh Foundation Honors Longtime EAA Supporter James C. Ray
Longtime EAA supporter James C. Ray will receive the Lindbergh Foundationís 2012 Spirit Award in March.
January 19, 2012 - The Lindbergh Foundation will present its 2012 Spirit Award to longtime EAA supporter James C. Ray at a celebration at Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Florida, on March 29. The event coincides with the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In at Lakeland.
The Spirit Award is one of the Foundation's two major awards and is presented every five years. The Spirit Award honors "pioneering achievements in an aviation career with the spirit and character that represents the best of this nation."
The foundation's other major award, the Lindbergh Award, goes to pilot and inventor Dr. Forrest Bird, who pioneered development of respirators that were of unprecedented help to polio victims and premature infants.
Ray flew B-17s in World War II and was active again in the Korean War. After his military duties Ray flew his Cessna 170B for transportation as he established businesses as a rancher, oil and gas explorer, and real estate developer. He has also logged more than 3,500 hours flying single-pilot in a Citation business jet.
Ray has been a very generous supporter of many EAA programs, including the Young Eagles, and was the financial force behind the design and construction of the Air Academy Lodge on Pioneer Airport in Oshkosh. He also made significant contributions to the Central Florida Aerospace Academy that was built recently on the Sun 'n Fun grounds. Ray's aviation philanthropy also includes support of the University of North Dakota Aerospace programs, the Museum of Flight in Seattle, and the Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour in Everett, Washington.
Ray has also invested in more than 300 businesses including Compaq Computer, Eclipse Aviation, and Cirrus Design. He believes the discipline and skills learned during flight training helped him achieve success in his business career.
"We believe that Mr. Ray's interest in supporting both innovative education and business ventures at an early stage of development, particularly to advance solutions for air and pilot safety, is uniquely aligned with the philosophy behind the Spirit Award," noted Lindbergh Foundation Award Committee Chairman David Treinis.
The Lindbergh Foundation focuses on technological breakthroughs to address significant aviation-environmental issues. This year marks the 85th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's New York to Paris flight, and the 35th anniversary of the foundation.