Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and has been passionate about aviation since becoming a pilot in 1976. He holds U.S. and Saudi Airline Transport Certificates, is an experienced desert and mountain pilot, and qualified in helicopters, gliders, and jets.
ARABSAT (Arab Satellite Communications Organization) chose him to fly on board NASA as a payload specialist for the STS-51G Shuttle and he flew on Shuttle Discovery as part of an international crew on June 17, 1985. Upon his return, he participated in founding the Association of Space Explorers, the international organization for space travelers. He served in the Saudi Air Force from 1985 to 1996, flew combat in the first Gulf War, and retired as a Colonel.
In May 2021, Sultan was named Special Advisor to the King and Chairman of the King Salman Foundation. In 2018, he was appointed Chairman of the Board of the Saudi Space Commission and he served on the board of Saudi’s Civil Aviation. He is the founder and Chairman of the Board of the Saudi Aviation Club and created the Sand and Fun Air Show to promote General Aviation in Saudi Arabia and the region. He has been involved in restoring legacy aircraft with his longtime friend, flight instructor and mentor Ken Hoffman, including an Oshkosh-award-winning Bonanza twin.
Among his many accomplishments were the first exploration of Saudi Arabia by glider for the creation Arabian Winds video, flying at the South Pole and a circumnavigation. He has written books on Saudi heritage and architecture, his Shuttle story Seven Days in Space, and his soon-to-be published “My Life on Wings.” Sultan is active in humanitarian efforts, including efforts on behalf of disabled people.
He has often said the many aviators around the world he has been privileged to meet are one of the great joys of his life.