Dubai 09: Flightglobal Achievement Awards - The winners

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Hudson hero Capt Chesley Sullenberger, Virgin's Sir Richard Branson and Bob Mitchell, father of the Global Hawk unmanned air vehicle, have been named Aviator, Innovator and Leader of the Year in the inaugural Flightglobal Achievement Awards.

The winners - who topped a poll on flightglobal.com that generated more than 7,000 votes - were honoured in front of 150 VIPs at an awards ceremony held at Dubai's prestigious Al Badia Golf Club.

Also announced as joint winners of the fourth Boeing Engineering Student of the Year Award were PhD candidates Can Bayram of Northwestern University and Michael Grant of Georgia Institute of Technology.

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 © Billypix
Bob Mitchell (left) receives his award from David Brown, marketing director from sponsor AJW Aviation 

The event was sponsored by Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies, AJW Aviation, Bombardier and Boeing, and hosted by Flight International Editor Murdo Morrison. Special guest Al Jazeera and former BBC newsreader Darren Jordon gave his personal perspective on the Middle East and the region's role in the world economy in the future.

  • Leader of the Year and UAV pioneer Bob Mitchell - the Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems vice-president who is credited with bringing the RQ-4 Global Hawk to market while head of Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical in the 1990s - was at the event to pick up his award. So too was Engineering Student of the Year Michael Grant.
  • Sullenberger - who saved 155 lives when he successfully ditched his US Airways A320 in New York's Hudson river after a birdstrike-induced total engine failure - is on a tour to publicise his new autobiography and could not make the event. However, he appeared on video to thank people for voting for him.
  • Branson's award was collected by Flight International editor Murdo Morrison on behalf of Virgin Galactic. The British billionaire was recognised for his success in making space tourism a reality with trips on the SpaceShip Two suborbital rocket, which is due to begin flight testing in a few weeks.

More details on each of the winners and information on all the runners up