A number of aviation heroes joined Rolls-Royce to recognize the winners of the Western Regional of the National Aviation Heritage Invitational held in conjunction with the Reno National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nev., Sept. 14-17.
The 2006 Grand Champion of the Rolls-Royce Aviation Heritage Invitational was Frank R. Schelling of Pleasant Hill, Calif., with his 1918 Curtiss JN-4H “Jenny.” The owner restored the aircraft and Air Fab of Hollister, Calif., did the covering. Additionally, the Jenny earned the National Aviation Hall of Fame’s People’s Choice Award, as voted by thousands of air race fans and enthusiasts viewing the 30 aircraft over the four-day event. The Heritage Trophy is displayed at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia.
Winners in other categories included Antique (Orville and Wilbur Wright Trophy), a 1932 Waco QDC restored by owner Alan Buchner, Fresno, Calif.; Classic (Paul E. Garber Trophy), a 1939 Lockheed 12A owned by Leslie Whittlesey of Coto de Caza, Calif., and restored by Lockheed Stink Works; and Warbird (Henry “Hap” Arnold Trophy), a 1942 Curtiss P-40-K, owned by Ron Fagen, Granite Falls, Minn., and restored by Warhawks Inc.
Ron Kaplan, executive director of the National Aviation Hall of Fame, and Ken Perich, executive director of the National Aviation Heritage Invitational and VP of market development at Rolls-Royce, assisted in the presentations. Additional help came from aviation legends Neil Armstrong, former X-15 pilot and first man to walk on the moon; Gene Cernan, Apollo astronaut and last man to walk on the moon; Maj. Gen. Joe Engle, former X-15 pilot and space shuttle astronaut; and Bob Hoover, former air show and test pilot.
The National Aviation Heritage Invitational encourages preservation of aviation history through the restoration of aircraft to original flying condition. The invitational, founded in 1998, 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].