John & Martha King were recently honored during an emotionally charged presentation at AOPA’s Annual R. A. “Bob” Hoover Trophy Reception in Washington DC. The famous aviation couple jointly received the inaugural Richard G. McSpadden General Aviation Safety Award. The award was named after the late, longtime AOPA safety leader and highly accomplished aviator.

John & Martha received the AOPA Richard G. McSpadden General Aviation Safety Award in a ceremony in Washington DC. Photo ID Left to Right AOPA President Mark Baker, John King, Martha King, Paul Deres, AOPA’s Vice President of Operations

The portion of the ceremony honoring John & Martha included Mark Baker, President of AOPA and aviation legend Sean Tucker who introduced Paul Deres, AOPA’s Vice President of Operations. Paul spoke about Richard’s contributions to aviation safety and the evolution of renaming the award for Richard McSpadden. After a video tribute to John & Martha, Paul presented the trophy.

After accepting the award John King said, “I want to tell you how much we appreciate AOPA doing this. What AOPA is doing tonight is celebrating achievement. If it weren’t for AOPA we wouldn’t have an aviation community today the way we have it. AOPA has made it possible for us to be in this business and for us all to be flying together. It’s a wonderful organization and we really appreciate it.”

Martha King added, “AOPA is what gives us a strong voice in the US, and helps maintain our freedom to fly, and we thank you for that.”

Martha continued, “I want to also say how very honored we are to receive this, the very first Richard G. McSpadden Air Safety Institute General Aviation Safety Award. We knew Richard, we really liked him, and we especially appreciated the contributions he made. His videos analyzing accidents, and his thoughtful discussions, brought great insight to the community and a great improvement, we think, to the general aviation safety record. He helped change the vocabulary of the whole community about risk management and helped put a renewed emphasis and focus on safety that will carry on to the future and do great things. And so, we’re very, very pleased and privileged to accept this very first inaugural award. It will encourage us and inspire us even more to carry on our own risk management efforts.”

The complete video of the presentation, that includes an AOPA-created video tribute and John & Martha’s remarks, can be found on YouTube at this link –

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