Awarded annually by the National Aeronautic Association under the auspices of the FAA, the Robert J. Collier Trophy is considered the most prestigious award in aerospace. It was established in 1911 by Robert Collier, publisher of Collier's Weekly magazine. He was also an early president of the Aero Club of America. Collier was among the first to purchase an airplane from the Wright brothers for personal use.

The criteria for recognition is that the winner must be "the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America for the preceding year, 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." The award, originally known as the Aero Club of America Trophy, was first presented in 1911 to Glenn Curtiss. Collier also stated that "the flying machine should be unselfishly and rapidly developed to its ultimate potential for America's economic advancement."

A list of the winners can be found at

Notable winners include Glenn Curtiss, (who was the first), Burt Rutan (his plane flew around the world on a single tank of gas), Howard Hughes, and the original seven astronauts.

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