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2018 GWAO Brochure

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About GWAO

Smiling Ace

Since 1989 GWAO has raised nearly $1.6 million dollars for charity. That makes even a cool aviator crack a smile!


The Greater Washington Aviation Open (GWAO) is the largest aviation charity event in Washington, DC. It has attracted thousands of aviation, defense, and government leaders from all across the country and the world for over two decades.

The GWAO charity golf and tennis tournaments started in 1989 with the support of a few aviation associations, primarily, the Airport Consultants Council, the Air Line Pilots Association, the Air Transport Association, and the National Business Aircraft Association. The purpose of the tournament was to bring the aviation community together to enjoy a day out of the office, with fellow aviation industry leaders and friends, and to donate the proceeds from the event to a worthy cause.

In 1989, the GWAO was honored to have US Senator Wendell Ford as its Honorary Chairman and the tournament proceeds of $7,500 went to Kentucky Educational Television for nationwide General Education Degree (GED) programming. The tournament at Manor Country Club in Maryland drew a very good crowd including then US DOT Secretary Sam Skinner.

The charities receiving the tournament proceeds varied over the first four years. However, the GWAO soon settled on the Corporate Angel Network (CAN) as a perfect match because of its size and mission. CAN was started by three people in Westchester, NY and from very humble beginnings they have grown considerably with the financial assistance of the GWAO. Their mission to fly cancer patients on the empty seats of business aircraft to treatment facilities across the country has expanded to over 500 member companies and the transportation of 3,000 cancer patients a year. The GWAO is proud of its long and historic relationship with CAN and their volunteers.

Starting in 2006 the GWAO started a scholarship at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia. This is the high school featured in the award winning movie, “Home of the Titans.” The school has students attending from over 80 countries around the world. Their dependence upon aviation to be with family and friends is well known by these well traveled students. The GWAO has sponsored a scholarship for a student entering college in an aviation degree program. It is a four-year scholarship that requires the student to maintain a B-average.

This year the GWAO expanded its beneficiaries to include the Veterans Airlift Command. VAC provides free air transportation to wounded veterans and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes, through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots. VAC’s priority is veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The GWAO features a live auction following the golf tournament and Victory Reception. The airline tickets, hotel/resort packages, and prizes are second to none and serve to generate almost half of the tournament proceeds. The GWAO has enjoyed tremendous support from several major aviation and defense companies over the years and we welcome new sponsors. 

The Greater Washington Aviation Open is very proud to have raised almost $1.7 million for deserving charities and the people they serve. In the spirit of the tournament’s founders and Board of Directors, we look forward to welcoming you to a wonderful day of camaraderie with your friends and peers, “Fore a great time…Fore a great cause.”

Tournament History

Honorary Chairs

Tim Keating

U.S. Representative Rick Larsen

0 U.S. Congressman Sam Graves

Rep. Hal Rogers
Chairman, House Committee on Appropriations

John E "Jack" Potter

Robert "Bob" McCarthy

Clay Jones

Bruce Whitman

Jack Pelton

Pete Bunce

Rep. Joe Knollenberg

Rep. Todd Tiahrt

Gov. Robert Ehrlich

Rep. Martin Olav Sabo

Rep. Don Young

Rep. Hal Rogers

Lynne Russell

Rep. Jimmy Duncan

Sen. Wendell H. Ford

Jim McLean

John Feinstein

Rep. Jimmy Duncan

Rep. Bob Carr

Sen. Conrad Burns

Rep.William F. Clinger, Jr.

Rep. James L. Oberstar

Sen. Wendell H. Ford

GWAO Board of Directors

John Provenzano

National Association of State Treasurers

Vice President
Darby Becker

GE Aviation

Mary Miller

Signature Flight Support

Dick DeiTos


Pete West
West Advocacy

Don Skiados
Leadership Communications & Training

Ed Hazelwood
Aviation Week

Steve Martin
InterVISTAS Consulting

Michael Robbins
The Moak Group

Paul Feldman

Beth Rossman

Sam Whitehorn
Signal Group

John Moloney
The Boeing Company