Reno, Nev. (January 28, 2019) – Applications are now open for the National Aviation Heritage Invitational (NAHI). The premiere vintage aircraft competition will take place on the ramp at the STIHL National Championship Air Races, Sept. 11-15, 2019 in Reno, Nev. Applications are due Aug. 15, space is limited.

“This competition is as unique as the races themselves,” said Tony Logoteta, COO of the National Championship Air Races. “We are excited to have it return to its birthplace and feature some of the finest restored vintage aircraft in the country.”

NAHI was established more than two decades ago at the National Championship Air Races by Rolls-Royce, The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Since it began, the competition has continued to honor America’s rich aviation history and inspire the next generation to pursue aviation careers.

“Each competing aircraft must be at least 45 years old and restored to airworthy condition,” said Colin Powers, chief judge. “Aircraft are judged on authenticity, quality of workmanship, attention to detail and technical merit.”

All aircraft applications are reviewed by a five-member judging team. Those accepted will be judged in the following five categories:

  • Antique Aircraft: (Orville and Wilbur Wright Trophy) must be 1934 or earlier.
  • Classic Aircraft: (Paul E. Garber Trophy) must be 1935 to 1955.
  • Contemporary Aircraft: (Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Trophy) 1956 to 1974.
  • Large Aircraft: (Herb Kelleher Trophy) wingspans over 45 feet up to 1974.
  • Military Aircraft: (Henry “Hap” Arnold Trophy) all Warbirds up to 1974.

“The judging criteria was created by representatives of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum,” said Nelson Blankenship, chief of restorations for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. “The Smithsonian is actively involved in NAHI and representatives from our restoration staff serve annually on the judging team.”

Neil Armstrong, a National Aviation Hall of Famer and longtime supporter of NAHI, attended many trophy presentations and helped present and admire the aircraft. In 2012, the year Armstrong died, the grand prize trophy was renamed in his honor.

“The overall winning aircraft will be awarded the Neil A. Armstrong Aviation Heritage Trophy which resides in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center located at Washington Dulles Airport in Virginia,” said Ken Perich, NAHI chairman. “In addition, the National Aviation Hall of Fame People’s Choice Award Trophy, sponsored by Air & Space Smithsonian magazine, will be awarded to the owner of the aircraft receiving the largest number of votes cast by the airshow attendees.”

For more information and to apply visit HeritageTrophy.com or contact June Powers, director of participants at NAHI at cjpowers7005@yahoo.com.

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About the National Aviation Heritage Invitational:
The vision and mission of the National Aviation Heritage Invitational (NAHI) LLC is to support our aviation industry by doing two important functions; honoring our rich aviation history and inspiring the next generation to pursue careers within the aviation industry.

NAHI was created to ensure our rich aviation history is kept alive by encouraging the restoration and preservation of vintage aircraft to flying condition. NAHI accomplishes this via a friendly annual competition, where each aircraft is judged against restoration standards established by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. We bring together some of the finest examples of restored vintage aircraft in the country to compete for the grand champion Neil A. Armstrong Aviation Heritage Trophy. 

NAHI utilizes the aircraft, owners and judging staff to help inspire students to consider careers within the aviation industry. We also utilize the ISTAT Careers in Aviation video series to highlight some of the great career opportunities available within our industry.

About the Reno Air Racing Association:

The Reno Air Racing Association (RARA), a 501(c)(3), holds the National Championship Air Races every September just north of Reno. The Reno Air Races have become an institution for northern Nevada and aviation enthusiasts from around the world. Independent economic impact studies have shown that our event generates as much as $91.7 million annually for our local economy. The event features six racing classes, a large display of static aircraft and several military and civilian flight demonstrations. For more information on the National Championship Air Races, to obtain media credentials, volunteer or purchase tickets for this year’s event, visit www.airrace.org.