Joseph T. Nall Safety Award

Joseph T. Nall
1942 – 1989
Each year, the Nall Award is presented to a person or team of persons who have made a significant contribution to aviation safety during their lifetime.  IATSBA’s highest honor is named after Joseph T. Nall, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board who lost his life while pursuing the Board’s mission to improve transportation safety.

Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Joseph Trippe Nall graduated from Furman University, and went on to receive his master’s degree in divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1964.  After just under a decade of preaching, Nall decided to pursue the law as another way to help others. He received his law degree from Wake Forest Law in 1973 and practiced in North Carolina.

In addition to preaching and practicing law, Nall made time to pursue his other passion: aviation.  Joseph earned his instrument pilot rating and was a Certified Ground Instructor, teaching pilots at Johnston County Airport in Smithfield, North Carolina through his own company, Nall Aviation Enterprises.  His interest and dedication to flight did not go unnoticed.  In 1986, with the help of his friend, U.S. Representative Martin Lancaster, and Senator Jesse Helms, Nall was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board.

Joseph was well known as the NTSB Member closest to aviation, with a particular interest in safety issues related to small planes used for business and pleasure.  In addition to his aviation focus, Nall fully embraced the NTSB’s mission to further all kinds of transportation safety.  He was on the scene of an Amtrak crash with three Conrail locomotives in Chase, Maryland, in 1987, as well as chairing hearings on a fatal pipeline accident near Mounds View, Minnesota and a fatal bus accident in the Lincoln Tunnel in ’86.

Nall’s work for the Board was cruelly and tragically cut short in 1989 by a plane crash in Caracas, Venezuela.  While in the country to give a speech to the Venezuelan Aeronautical Congress, Nall was aboard a Cessna 402 chartered for a sightseeing trip. When the aircraft attempted to land in dense fog at Charallave municipal airport, the plane impacted the runway, broke its landing gear, flipped and skidded upside down along the runway, killing Nall and the aircraft’s two pilots.

IATSBA is proud to honor Joseph T. Nall’s memory and present an award bearing his name to those who continue the work he so passionately pursued making aviation and transportation safer for all.

If you know of an individual or organization worthy of consideration for the Nall Award, please email their name and qualifications to IATSBA’s President, David Tochen (

Past recipients include:

  • 2019/20 – Margaret “Peggy” Gilligan, Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety, FAA
  • 2018 – Christopher Hart, Former NTSB Chairman, and Robert Sumwalt, NTSB Chairman
  • 2017 – Boris Popov, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of BRS Aerospace
  • 2016 – Nicholas A. Sabatini, Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety, Ret., Federal Aviation Administration
  • 2014 – Safeflight Instrument Corporation – Randy Greene, CEO, and his father Leonard Greene
  • 2013 – Cirrus Aircraft SR Safety Design Team
  • 2012 – Dr. John K. Lauber, NTSB Board Member, SVP and Chief Product Safety Officer, Airbus SAS
  • 2011 – William R. Voss, President and CEO, Flight Safety Foundation
  • 2010 – Herbert D. “Herb” Kelleher, Co-Founder and CEO, Southwest Airlines
  • 2009 – Captain Alfred C. Haynes, United Airlines Flight 232, Sioux City, Iowa

Past Awards and Scholarships

Academic Scholarships

2013 Attendance Scholarship, National Flight Academy
2012 IATSBA Annual Air and Transportation Law Conference Law Student Scholarship
46th Annual SMU Air Law Symposium Law Student Scholarship

IATSBA Conference Attendance Scholarships

2013 Air and Transportation Law Conference, Pensacola Beach, Florida.

Scholarship Sponsors

Platinum: $2,500 – $5,000
Gold: $1,000 – $2,499
Silver: $500 – $999
Benefactor: up to $499