A number of aviation heroes joined Rolls-Royce to recognize the winners at the National Aviation Heritage Invitational competition, held in conjunction with the National Championship Air Races in Reno.
The 2007 Grand Champion and recipient of the Rolls-Royce Aviation Heritage Trophy is a North American P-51D Mustang, Cripes A’Mighty, owned by Bill Wiemann of Alpine, Wyo., and beautifully restored by Midwest Aero Restorations. The Mustang also took home the Henry “Hap” Arnold Trophy for best restored warbird.
The Heritage Trophy is displayed at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia, near Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD).
A 1929 Travel Air 4-D owned and restored by Bruce McElhoe of Reedley, Calif., was awarded the Orville and Wilbur Wright Trophy in the antique category.
In the classic category, the Paul E. Garber Trophy went to Steve Marini of Danville, Calif., for his 1937 Spartan Executive 7W. The Spartan also won the National Aviation Hall of Fame’s People’s Choice Award, voted on by thousands of spectators attending the invitational.
Aviation legends assisting in the trophy presentations included Neil Armstrong, former X-15 pilot and first man to walk on the moon; record-setting test pilot Dick Rutan; and former air show and test pilot Bob Hoover. Also participating in presentations were Ron Kaplan, executive director of NAHF; Steven Udvar-Hazy, ILFC chairman and philanthropist; Linda Shiner, publisher of Smithsonian Air and Space magazine; Ken Perich, executive director of NAHI and vice president of sales and marketing at Rolls-Royce North America; Chris Cyr, executive vice president, Rolls-Royce NA; and Mike Houghton, CEO of the Reno Air Racing Foundation.
The National Aviation Heritage Invitational encourages preservation of aviation history through the restoration of aircraft to original flying condition. Founded in 1998, the invitational is a joint effort under the partnership of Rolls-Royce North America, the National Aviation Hall of Fame, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the Reno Air Racing Foundation. A five-member panel, including representatives of the National Air and Space Museum, judges each aircraft on its technical merit and how well it represents the aircraft early in its career. Authenticity to the original manufacturer’s condition is the “gold standard” for each plane.
For more information, visit [http://www.heritagetrophy.org].