Established in 1978, this award recognizes an individual for unique and outstanding contributions to air transportation and/or to the work of the aerospace technical committees in developing aerospace standards, specifications, technical reports, and data through cooperative research. SAE established the Franklin W. Kolk Air Transportation Progress Award to acknowledge and commemorate the distinctive contributions of the late Franklin W. Kolk to the advancement of civil air transportation and to the associated work of the Society. Mr. Kolk was renowned for the many significant contributions he made in the design of commercial transport aircraft. He was an active participant in many government/industry committees and was the founding chairman of the SAE A-21 Committee on Aircraft Noise Measurement. The criteria for the selection shall include the following:
- The significance of the individual's contribution in terms of the originality of the work.
- The impact and influence of the contribution on the progress and development of air transportation.
- The value of the contribution to the aerospace industry, the government and the general public.
- Recognition by the individual's peers in SAE for both leadership and participation in bringing to realization the important objectives of the Aerospace Council.