Hamish Harding: Living legend of aviation


Hamish Harding, CEO, Action Aviation, has been declared a “living legend of aviation” joining Tom Cruise, Kenn Ricci and Jeff Bezos in the aviation and aerospace elite.

The third annual European Living Legends of Aviation Awards were held on August 27th in Austria. Harding was one of four recipients along with: Robert Dewar, senior vice president, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Services and Product Policy, Airbus Canada; Sir Stephen Hillier, Chair, Civil Aviation Authority and Shane Lundgren, CEO, Metolius Aviation Capital.

Harding’s award recognised his contributions to aviation and aerospace. As well as founding business jet brokerage Action Aviation, he has also been involved in several record-breaking expeditions.  

In August he took part in Blue Origin’s fifth human spaceflight. Harding also holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest circumnavigation of the earth via the North and South Poles by an aircraft. The Gulfstream G650ER flight took 46 hours, 40 minutes and 22 seconds.

He was one of two individuals to take a 12-hour deep dive to the Challenger Deep in 2021. The dive reached 36,000 ft under water, and Harding broke his second world record for the greatest ever distance traversed at full ocean depth.

The awards, originating in the US, commemorates remarkable people and their accomplishments within aviation and aerospace. Currently, the living legends of aviation include more than 100 entrepreneurs, innovators, industry leaders, astronauts, record breakers, pilots-turned-celebrities and celebrities-turned-pilots.

Harding said the award was an “honour” and in his speech thanked his Action Aviation team, Laurie Lips and his family (including his two golden retrievers).

Watch Hamish Harding become a living legend of aviation here.

As well as the Living Legends, five individuals were honoured with awards for their achievements – Alexandre Couvelaire, former French air force pilot and founder of charter company Euralair, won the Kenn Ricci Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award; Daniel Wiegand, co-founder and CEO, Lilium GmbH, received the Eren Ozmen Aviation Entrepreneur of the Year Award; Oliver Daemen, the youngest person to travel to space, was awarded the Aerospace Inspiration Award; Zara Rutherford, the youngest woman to fly solo around the world, won the Barron Hilton Aviation Inspiration Award and Bin Chen, CEO, Wanfeng Auto Holding Group and Chairman, Meridian Lightweight Technologies Incorporated, received the Aviation Industry Leader of the Year Award.

The Awards featured a flying opera air show by The Flying Bulls. The ceremony was hosted by fellow living legend of aviation and Hollywood star Morgan Freeman – winner of the Aviation Inspiration and Patriotism Award at the 2011 Living Legends of Aviation Awards, North America.


Read more about Hamish Harding’s excursions here: