First Posted right here: 2017 Outstanding Aviator Award
Major Heather Penney will be awarded the 2017 annual Outstanding Aviator Award! The award will be presented by the Wings Club Foundation at their annual meeting, and International Aviation Womens Association (IAWA) during a presentation that will take place on March 29, 2017 at The Yale Club in New York City.
As soon as Congress opened combat aviation to women, Penney applied to the Air National Guard to fly F-16’s, and was the first woman in the 121st Fighter Squadron.
Penney is being recognized for her service to our country when on September 11, 2001, she was one of two pilots asked to take action and protect the airspace over Washington D.C that morning. Her mission was to take down the hijacked airliner United Flight 93 by any means necessary. However, because of the urgency of the situation, there hadn’t been enough time to actually arm her F-16. It was obvious she had been sent on a suicide mission.
When asked about being ready and willing to fly a kamikaze mission, she stated, “Because there are things in this world that are more important than ourselves.”
Today, Penney works for Lockheed Martin as the Director of Air Force Aviation Training Systems, specializing in capture management, government relations and strategic business development. She has worked with the F-16 and F-22, and is currently working on the F-35 project.
Since it’s commencement in 2010, the annual Outstanding Aviator Award has been presented to exemplary recipients such as the Tuskegee Airmen, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), the Doolittle Raiders, Patty Wagstaff, and Bob Hoover.
Independence Aviation would like to say Congratulations!