The 54-year-old attended the ceremony in Beverly Hills on Friday
Lauren Sánchez has received a special honor from the aviation community.
The 54-year-old received the Elling Halvorson Vertical Flight Hall of Fame Award for her expertise as a helicopter pilot and aviation businesswoman at the 21st Annual Living Legends of Aviation Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills on Friday.
Sánchez, who founded the aerial filming company Black Ops Aviation in 2016, walked the red carpet solo. Her fiancé Jeff Bezos, 60, was previously honored at the 16th Annual Living Legends of Aviation Awards in 2019.
Sánchez said she was "thrilled" at receiving the honor inside the event, according to Hello! magazine. She also joked it was "only time" before more women were inducted into the organization, which has just 10 female members.
The honoree made a glamorous appearance in a black strapless fitted gown with ruching and matching black opera gloves, that set off her cushion cut 30-carat diamond engagement ring.
Sánchez was joined by Prince Harry, who was also among the honorees on the night — and was inducted into the Living Legends of Aviation. The Duke of Sussex, 39, attended the ceremony without wife Meghan Markle and received his award from event host John Travolta before giving a "poetic" speech, according toTwilight director Catherine Hardwicke, who was also in attendance in support of friend Sánchez, according to Hello! magazine.
In a December 2023 news release, acting Executive Director Stacey Elsner praised Sánchez for “actively” engaging in the vertical flight industry and using her platform “to encourage young women and girls to find their place within the industry,” as well.
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“Lauren Sánchez is a role model and true inspiration for so many women in aviation,” Elsner said.
Sánchez celebrated her achievement in an Instagram post, calling it “a huge honor.”
“I just can’t believe it!!!” she wrote in the caption of her post. “Flying is my passion and this is truly such an honor. (You also have have no idea how happy you made my dad who has been a pilot since I was a little girl.)”
In an interview with WSJ Magazine in 2023 — her first solo interview since her relationship with fiancé Jeff Bezos become public in 2019 — Sánchez said she originally dreamed of becoming a flight attendant, but later realized her true passion. “I don’t want to be a stewardess. I want to be the pilot!” she told the outlet.
Flying is in Sánchez’s blood, too, as both of her parents are pilots.
After working as an on-air journalist for multiple stations, Sánchez decided to sign up for classes at a flight school in Los Angeles in hopes of getting her helicopter pilot's license. And in 2016, Sánchez became one of the first women to own and operate an aerial film and production company with Black Ops Aviation.
Sánchez told WSJ that she had recently been flying at least three times per week to maintain her skills. Oftentimes, both her and Bezos' families were her passengers.
"I don't know why more women don't do it,” Sánchez said at the time. "They're like, "What? You're such a bada--!" And I want to say it's really not that hard. I do want more women to get involved in it."
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