The National Aviation Hall of Fame has officially announced a nationwide “call for entries” for its 2007 Combs Gates Award. The prestigious $20,000 cash honor is presented annually to an individual or group for a project juried as being exemplary in advancing the promotion or preservation of America’s air and space heritage. Each award ceremony takes place at the opening general session of the National Business Aviation Association Annual Meeting & Convention. This year’s NBAA convention, the largest civil aviation event in the world, will be held Sept. 25-27 in Atlanta.
Among projects eligible for the Combs Gates Award are books, film/video, public exhibits and artwork. In keeping with the NAHF’s congressionally chartered mission to honor outstanding individual air and space pioneers, applicants are encouraged to submit projects emphasizing human achievements. The deadline for submissions is May 25, 2007. A blue ribbon panel of judges will independently review each project, and applicants will be notified of the winner by Aug. 1, 2007.
The Combs Award was named for its founder, NAHF enshrinee Harry Combs, and was first presented at NBAA during the Centennial anniversary of powered flight in 2003. Combs died later that year at age 90. In addition to being a corporate and general aviation pioneer, Combs was also a noted historian, author and philanthropist. Combs funded the award’s initial three years as part of an overall $1.3 million gift to the NAHF Learning & Research Center, made prior to its opening in 2003.
In 2006, the NAHF changed the award’s name to the Combs Gates Award, to reflect the new, ongoing support of the Charles C. and June S. Gates family, through a three-year Gates Family Fund grant to continue the contest. The late Charles C. Gates was a prominent business aviation partner with Combs and shared his passion for the preservation of America’s air and space history.
“Thanks to the vision of Harry Combs, and now with the aid of the Gates family, the projects this award encourages will help the National Aviation Hall of Fame highlight the inspirational legacies of our great air and space pioneers for generations to come,” said Ron Kaplan, executive director for the 46-year-old nonprofit organization. “It’s not surprising that several enshrinees participate annually in presenting the award, as much to honor Mr. Combs’ and Mr. Gates’ spirit of support as to salute the recipient.”
“Most committed historians toil with dedication and passion but without much tangible acknowledgement of their effort,” explained Kaplan. “The Combs Gates Award, named for a pair of aviation legends in their own right, generously and prominently corrects that. It’s the privilege of the National Aviation Hall of Fame to administer such a mission-relevant process and help spotlight a well-deserving historian at NBAA each year.”
The NAHF’s 17,000-square-foot learning center opened to the public in 2003 and features six galleries that chronicle the exciting history of flight, with a focus on the people who made it happen. A variety of interactive displays highlight achievements of many of the 190 enshrinees honored thus far. The site is also home to the Harry B. Combs Research Center, dedicated to preserving tens of thousands of images and documents tracing enshrinee life stories.
Located adjacent to the National Museum of the U. S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, public admission to the NAHF is free.
For more information regarding award criteria and application guidelines, call the NAHF at 937-256-094, ext. 18, or visit [http://www.nationalaviation.org].