The Achievement Award is RTCA’s most prestigious award, selected by the RTCA Policy Board and given to recognize those who have made significant contributions to the successful accomplishment to the RTCA mission and support of the aviation community.

Richard E. Heinrich is Director, Strategic Initiatives for the Commercial Systems Business Unit of Rockwell Collins.  Rick is an active member of industry organizations including ICAO, RTCA, EUROCAE, and GAMA where he has served on a variety of domestic and international panels for the advancement of the airspace.  He has been a key contributor to both the NextGen and SESAR operational concepts.  He also served on the US ADS-B Aviation Rulemaking Committee and on the CASCADE Program Steering Group. His RTCA committee leadership includes the Program Management Committee (PMC), Integration and Coordination Committee (ICC), Co-Chair of SC-228, and the NextGen Advisory Committee (NAC) Subcommittee and its working groups.


Paul McDuffee is Insitu’s vice president of government relations responsible for regulation shaping and development supporting Insitu’s future in civilian and commercial use of unmanned aircraft. Paul serves as principal liaison with FAA in matters relating to regulatory matters for UAS operations and as advocate for UAS national airspace integration. He is currently serving as co-chair of RTCA Special Committee 228, serves as a member of the Drone Advisory Committee Sub Committee, and is a member of the Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team Steering Committee. Paul was also former chair of the Aeronautical Industries Association UAS Committee.


James Crites is the Principle of James M. Crites LLC, Transportation Consultancy. Before retiring Mr. Crites served as Executive Vice President for the Operations Division of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Prior to this, Mr. Crites worked in several key management positions at American Airlines, Inc. He is currently serving as the Immediate Past Chairman of the Executive Committee for the Transportation Research Board, National Academy of Sciences; Chairman,the University of Texas at Arlington, College of Engineering Advisory Board; a former member of the Subcommittee of the RTCA NextGen Advisory Committee and participant in the PBN Blueprint efforts; as well as the Airports Council International – North America Operations and Technical Affairs Committee.


Dr. George Ligler, as an engineering executive at Texas Instruments and Burroughs, and later as a consultant to Project Management Enterprises, Inc. (PMEI), has participated in aviation activities since the late 1970’s and on RTCA committees since 1990. George is a long-time member of RTCA’s Program Man­agement Committee and is also a member of both the NextGen Advisory Committee Subcommittee and Plenary leadership for the Industry’s/FAA’s Equip 2020 initiative related to ADS-B out equipage. George is Co-Chair of SC-159, a former Co-Chair of SC-228, and has been active in SC-186 since its inception. George was awarded the 2006 RTCA Achievement Award for his contribu­tions to ADS-B and Satellite-Based Navigation System Initiatives.


Captain Brian Townsend, Manager and Technical Pilot for Airspace Optimization at American Airlines, supports the company’s NextGen initiatives and system airspace activities. Through his efforts, the airline has become a recognized leader in the development and successful implementation of performance-based operations resulting in optimized and integrated procedures in many areas of the NAS. Supporting RTCA has been a priority for several years.  He has participated in special committees covering UAS, Data Comm, ADS-B, Trajectory Operations, Class B Airspace and Task Force 5.  More recently, Brian serves as co-chair for the PBN Blueprint and Community Outreach Task Groups and the PBN NextGen Integration Work Group.



View previous winners here.