HOUSTON, TEXAS (September 12, 2010) Deborah Rihn-Harvey has been honored by the Wings Over Houston Airshow as the recipient of the 2010 Lloyd P. Nolen Lifetime Achievement in Aviation Award, which honors individuals, organizations, companies and corporations dedicated to the promotion or advancement of aviation.
As one of the world’s leading aerobatic pilots, she is also the longest standing member of the United States Aerobatic Team and sets a world record for continuous participation in the World Championships.
“Debby’s interest in aviation at a young age led to her success in the aerobatic world,” says Bill Roach, executive director of Wings Over Houston Airshow.
When she first met Dr. Eoin Harvey her life changed forever. Dr. Harvey introduced Debby to the world of aerobatics, igniting a passion that continues to this day. In 1979, Harvey & Rihn Aviation, a Fixed Base Operation with an emphasis on aerobatics and flight instruction, was established in LaPorte, Texas.
She continued her professional growth by becoming an FAA Designated Flight Examiner in 1980 and an Aerobatic Competency Evaluator in 1984.
Debby’s individual accomplishments rank her as one of the world’s leading aerobatic pilots.
In 1983 Debby entered the upper echelon of aerobatic competition by qualifying for the USA Unlimited Aerobatic Team. She became the Women’s National Unlimited Champion in 1985 and has been awarded the Betty Skelton trophy for being the highest ranked Female in the Unlimited category eleven (11) times since 1998.
In 2006, Debby became the highest ranked aerobatic pilot in the country, receiving the distinguished title of United States National Champion and being awarded the Mike Murphy trophy. In 2008 and 2009 this title run was repeated and for the third time in four years
Debby claims the prestigious title of US National Aerobatic Champion and has participated in 14 World Competitions. This impressive 27 years of continuous involvement makes Debby historically the longest standing member of the United States Aerobatic Team and sets a world record for continuous participation in the World Championships.
Internationally she has won both individual and team medals and is a World Gold Medalist. She currently has earned more medals in World competition than anyone.
Debby began flying commercially with Southwest Airlines in 1989 and was the eleventh female pilot to wear a Southwest Airlines uniform. She became a Southwest Airlines Captain in 1994 and has logged in excess of 28,000 hours of flight time. She is a member of the Aviation Advisory Boards for the City of La Porte and San Jacinto College. She is a current Board member for the International Aerobatic Club and represents the US internationally as a delegate to CIVA.
Previous Llyod P. Nolan honorees include Gordon Bethune, Gene Kranz, Maybelle Fletcher, Ralph Royce, Herb Kelleher, Charles Hutchins, Tuskegee Airmen, Joe Foss, Captain John W. Young, Brigadier General David “Tex” Hill, Marvin “Lefty” Gardner, Vic Agather, Bob Hoover, Anthony LeVier, Burt Rutan, Major General Joe Engle, Mayor General William Anders, Paul Poberezny, the 147th Fighter Wing/111th Fighter Squadron of the Texas Air National Guard, General Reg Urschler and Gene Soucy.