CLEVELAND--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Directional Aviation announced today that its Principal, Kenn Ricci, has been inducted into the Living Legends of Aviation, a prestigious organization composed of men and women of extraordinary accomplishment in aviation including industry leaders, innovators, pilots and astronauts. Ricci, who was chosen by the current members of the Living Legends, was inducted at the 16th annual Living Legends of Aviation Awards Gala, held last night in Beverly Hills, California.
Ricci’s induction continues a relationship with the Living Legends of Aviation that began when he received the Living Legends Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award in 2017, an award that previously had been given to Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic, Fred Smith of FedEx and Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines. In 2018, the award was renamed the Kenn Ricci Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award and presented to Robert T. Bigelow, founder of Bigelow Aerospace.
“I am deeply honored that the Living Legends of Aviation has elected me to membership in their class of 2019, joining men and women whose achievements in aviation I deeply admire,” said Ricci. “I hope to use the platform as a Living Legend to promote the cause of the Kiddie Hawk Air Academy, which produces the Living Legends Awards Gala and helps to instill an interest in aviation in the next generation. In this time when the global need for aviators is front and center, Kiddie Hawk’s mission is more important than ever, and I hope to help it inspire young people to pursue careers in aviation.”
Beyond his induction, Ricci presented fellow 2019 inductee Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon and founder of space exploration innovator Blue Origin with the Kenn Ricci Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award from the Living Legends of Aviation.
“Through Amazon and his other ventures, there are few industries that have not been touched by the entrepreneurial spirit of Jeff Bezos, including aviation,” said Ricci. “Through Blue Origin, he is redefining our relationship with space, and is an inspiration to millions of aspiring entrepreneurs in aviation and in a variety of fields. He is a worthy recipient of this award not just as an entrepreneur, but as one of the true innovators of our time, who will help to bring our industry forward into the farthest reaches of space.”
Ricci’s aviation career includes more than 6,000 hours in the air as a pilot of type-rated aircraft and service flying Bill Clinton during his 1992 presidential campaign. Later, Ricci founded Directional Aviation, which is the parent of such prominent private aviation companies as pioneering business jet remanufacturer Nextant Aerospace; aircraft maintenance provider Constant Aviation; Sojourn Aviation, a global leader in aircraft sales; N1 Engines, a provider of turbine engine services; and the OneSky portfolio of private jet travel providers including Flexjet, the world’s finest fractional private jet ownership provider; jet card pioneer Sentient Jet; and digital on-demand private jet charter providers Skyjet and PrivateFly.
Collectively, the Directional Aviation companies currently employ more than 2,200 people; generate more than $1.5 billion in annual revenue; service private aviation needs in more than 70 countries around the world; and operate more than 175,000 flight hours annually.
Directional Aviation has continued to expand. In 2018 alone, it made three major acquisitions that will help shape the future of global aviation including PrivateFly, a leader in on-demand private jet charter in Europe; Sirio S.P.A., which will serve as the platform for Flexjet to grow substantially in Europe; and SIMCOM, which is the largest independent provider of flight simulator-based training services for the global general aviation, business aviation and regional airline markets.
Ricci’s pledge of support for the Kiddie Hawk Air Academy, which the Living Legends of Aviation helps to support, follows his commitment to other philanthropic causes including Able Flight, which provides people with disabilities a way to challenge themselves through flight and aviation career training; the search for a cure for Cystic Fibrosis; and the expansion of educational opportunity. In order to increase opportunity, Ricci has pioneered a new form of giving – called a Philanthropic Succession Partnership – that he used in 2017 to donate $100 million to Notre Dame, the largest such commitment ever for that iconic university. In 2018, Town & Country Magazine named Ricci among the Top 50 philanthropists for his charitable work.
About Directional Aviation
Directional Aviation Capital is a private investment firm whose singular focus is private business aviation. Combining strategic aviation ownership, unmatched experience and revolutionary vision, Directional continues to innovate and reshape private aviation. Directional’s unique industry expertise enables them to quickly understand business aviation companies and provide the financing and operational strategy needed to take advantage of evolving market opportunities.
Many of the world’s leading private aviation companies are proud to be part of our family. Directional’s OneSky portfolio of private jet travel providers includes shared ownership/fractional jet ownership, jet card, membership and on-demand charter providers. Industry leaders representing MRO, private jet remanufacturing, aviation parts distribution and more also make up the Directional family. Directional Aviation is charting the course of private aviation, worldwide. For more information, visit www.directionalaviation.com.