Collier Rules Clarified: Non-American Companies Allowed

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The National Aeronautic Association, which annually awards the Collier Trophy, arguably the most important award in U.S. aviation, has clarified the criteria for nominees to assert that companies not based in the U.S. can win as long as they do their projects in the U.S. Nominations close Jan. 31. The 108-year-old award (Glenn Curtiss won the first two and Orville Wright in 1913) is for "the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year.” The criteria, which was actually approved by the board of directors in 2016, defines "in America" to be “a company, entity or individual based in the United States or a foreign subsidiary doing the development and manufacturing of aerospace products in the United States.”

The change was in effect in time for Cirrus Aircraft to win the 2017 Collier. Cirrus won for the SJ50 Vision Jet and its whole-airframe parachute. Cirrus is owned by the Chinese government-owned China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA) division of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). It builds the jet in Duluth, its delivery center is in Knoxville, Tennessee, and all the design, development, testing and manufacturing is done in the U.S.