Walk Through Aviation History as the National Aviation Heritage Invitational returns to Reno.

Take a tour back in time to the days of open cockpit, propellers turning, early morning preparations for the mission in enemy territory or the echo of a graceful Staggerwing fueled and ready to take the executive to his destination.

Our aviation heritage lives through the skillfully restored aircraft at the National Aviation Heritage Invitational (NAHI). The Invitational is a friendly competition for those who own and restore these flying time pieces of history. The aviators of yesteryear will live on through the efforts of organizers and sponsors of this prestigious event.

Returning home to the Nevada high desert, these aircraft are some of the finest examples of restorations in the country and they each have a story. Our “flying museum” will be located on the east end of the ramp during the annual STIHL National Championship Air Races.

History and Competition

NAHI held its first competition in 1999 in Reno, Nevada concurrent with the National Championship Air Races and Air Show. Since then, the Invitational has held events at Reno-Stead Airport through 2019 and has also hosted competitions at the Dayton Air Show concurrent with the National Aviation Hall of Fame annual Enshrinement ceremonies. To date NAHI has hosted more than 20 competitions, featuring an average of 25 to 30 aircraft at each event.

National Aviation Heritage Invitational Trophy

Trophies are awarded in several categories including military, large, antique, classic, contemporary aircraft and the People’s Choice Award (where air show attendees can vote for their favorite aircraft) sponsored by Air & Space Magazine, a Smithsonian publication.

Entrants vie for the coveted Neil A. Armstrong Aviation Heritage Trophy presented by Perform Air International, a striking six-foot tall trophy that resides at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center located near Dulles Airport in Virginia.

“NAHI back at Reno is absolutely fantastic!” said Josh Cawthra a previous winner and regular participant at NAHI. “NAHI is the west coast mecca for aviation enthusiasts from all over the world and providing the opportunity for these enthusiasts to enjoy these iconic aircraft that so many have put such hard work into persevering is just amazing.”

“I am glad NAHI and Reno have reestablished their partnership,” said John Sessions, owner of Historic Flight Foundation and a previous winner and participant. “NAHI deserves the concentration of aviation enthusiasts that Reno attracts every September.”

NAHI is now accepting participant applications for the 2023 event. Please visit www.heritagetrophy.com for information on how to enter, news, updates and photo gallery.