2011 Pathfinder Awards Recipients

2011 Pathfinder Awards

The Museum of Flight Pathfinder Awards Honor Two Northwest Visionaries

With its annual Pathfinder Awards, The Museum of Flight honors individuals with ties to the Pacific Northwest who have made significant contributions to the development of the aerospace industry. On Ocotober 1, the 2011 Pathfinder Awards will be presented to Carolyn Corvi and Steve Fulton.


2011 Pathfinder Award Recipient, Carolyn Corvi


Carolyn Corvi

Over her 34-year career with The Boeing Company, Carolyn Corvi worked to challenge the status quo and fundamentally redefine the traditional commercial airplane production system. Her vision had an indelible impact on the way commercial airplanes are designed and built.

Beginning in 1995, Corvi began applying the principles of industryleading “Lean” principles that reduce waste, foster employee engagement, focus on the customer, and create a culture of continuous improvement.

Fundamental to this transformation was the implementation of a moving assembly line, enabling one-piece flow. Inventory turns improved by an unprecedented 357 percent, while days required for airplane assembly were reduced from 23 to 10. Elimination of excess inventory opened up floor space, and as a result, design engineers and all program administration were able to relocate to the factory, adjacent to the moving assembly line. This shortened lines of communication, enabling continuous improvement in both design and manufacturing processes.

From 2005 until her retirement in December 2008, Corvi was Boeing Commercial Airplanes Vice President and General Manager of Airplane Programs. In this position, she was responsible for leading the fully integrated production system – including design, production and delivery of the 737, 747, 767 and 777, as well as component part fabrication and global supply chain operations in support of these airplane programs.

In recognition of her aerospace industry leadership, Corvi has been recognized by numerous publications, including Forbes magazine as one of the “25 Most Influential in Travel,” The Wall Street Journal as one of the “50 Women to Watch, and  Fortune magazine as one of the “Most Powerful Women in Business.” In 2001, she received the Woman in Aerospace  Leadership Award for her contributions to Boeing and the Aerospace Industry.


2011 Pathfinder Award Recipient, Steve Fulton


Steve Fulton

Steve Fulton is a pioneer in the design of modern Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) instrument flight procedures. As a Technical Pilot at Alaska Airlines beginning in 1992, he led the development of improved aircraft departure and arrival operations at Juneau, Alaska using a system called Required Navigation Performance (RNP), an advanced form of PBN. The RNP procedures ensure that the aircraft always flies inside a precisely defined “tunnel” in the sky and alerts the crew if there is any deviation. The RNP arrival and departure procedures certified for operations in the Juneau Gastineau Channel
were the world’s first RNP procedures, and are still flown by Alaska Airlines, connecting the Alaska capitol to the outside world during prolonged periods of low clouds.

In February 2003, Fulton and others founded Naverus, Inc. to provide RNP solutions for airlines and air navigation service
providers around the world. Naverus distinguished itself early on by tailoring RNP flight procedures to the performance characteristics of the aircraft and by addressing the needs and interests of aircraft operators, passengers, air traffic  organizations, airports, and entire communities. In the first six years of operations, Naverus deployed more than 300 RNP flight procedures and established customer activities in a variety of countries. Naverus was acquired by GE Aviation in late 2009 and Fulton is currently a Technical Fellow at GE Aviation.

Fulton has also co-authored three U.S. patents on air data formats for electronic primary flight displays and principles of RNP design. He has been awarded the 1998 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Operations Award, the 2006 Aviation Week Laureate Award, the 2006 Aviation Week Technology Breakthrough Award, the 2007 Embry-Riddle Pinnacle Award, the 2008 Going Green Top 100 Winner, and the 2009 Air Transport World Technology Award.