The 2023 Laura Taber Barbour Air Safety Award: A call for nominations


The Laura Taber Barbour Air Safety Foundation is now accepting nominations for the 2023 Laura Taber Barbour Air Safety Award, honoring a leader in global aviation safety. Presented annually, this Award recognizes notable achievements in the field of civil or military aviation safety in method, design, invention, study, or other improvements. It will be presented during the 76th Annual International Air Safety Summit, which will take place 6-8 November 2023 in Paris, France.

Photo by Dane Penland, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. This medal was the gift of Lynn Douglas Mouden, DDS in honor of his father Captain Homer Mouden

The Award’s recipient is selected for a “significant individual or group effort contributing to improving aviation safety, with emphasis on original contributions” and a “significant individual or group effort performed above and beyond normal responsibilities.”

Among the many recipients of this prestigious award are three former ICAO staff members:

  • In 2015 Nancy Graham was recognized for her passionate leadership of ICAO’s Air Navigation Bureau. She spearheaded the Global Aviation Safety Plan, the Global Air Navigation Plan and Aviation System Block Upgrade developments. She was also commended for her unwavering commitment to unite the industry and international organizations to enhance air safety through the fully transparent sharing of information.
  • In 2021 Henry Gourdji was recognized for his significant contributions that improved aviation safety globally. In his role as a Senior Director at ICAO, his extraordinary vision and leadership resulted in far fewer accidents, and countless lives were saved worldwide.
  • In 2000, Captain Richard T. Slatter was recognized for outstanding contributions to the identification of factors involved in controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) and approach-and-landing accidents (ALAs) and to the development and implementation of methods to prevent CFIT and ALAs.

On April 14, 1945, after visiting family in Pittsburgh, Laura Taber Barbour was aboard a Pennsylvania Central Airlines DC-3 when it crashed into the rugged terrain of Cheat Mountain near Morgantown, West Virginia. All passengers and crew were killed. In 1956 her husband, Dr. Clifford E. Barbour and son, Clifford E. Barbour, Jr., in close association with The Flight Safety Foundation, established the Laura Taber Barbour Air Safety Award in her honor.  For the past 65 years, this distinguished award recognizing outstanding achievements in aviation safety worldwide has been presented at Flight Safety Foundation’s International Aviation Safety Summit.

In 2013, The Laura Taber Barbour Air Safety Foundation was formed as an independent non-profit charitable organization composed of members of the Award Board, the aviation community, and the Barbour family.  In addition to the annual presentation of the award, in 2019 the Foundation initiated a scholarship program that supports worthy students pursuing professional aviation studies. As the Foundation broadens its scope, the Laura Taber Barbour Air Safety Award will continue to recognize those who significantly contributed to aviation safety.

Mechanics, engineers, and others outside of top administrative or research positions are especially considered. The contribution need not be recent, especially if the nominee has not received adequate recognition. Nominations that were not selected as past winners may be resubmitted for consideration in subsequent years. Please note that self-nominations will not be considered.

The Award Committee, composed of leaders in the field of aviation, meets each year to conduct a final review of nominees and selection of the current year’s recipient. Nominations, including a 1-to-2-page narrative, can be submitted via the Laura Taber Barbour Foundation website here.

Nominations will be accepted through June 2, 2023. For more information, including a complete history of Award recipients, click here.