FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 11, 2018
National Aviation Heritage Invitational (NAHI) returns to the STIHL National Championship Air Races
RENO, Nev. - Fred Telling, Chairman and CEO of the Reno Air Racing Association (RARA), announced today that RARA and the National Aviation Heritage Invitational LLC (NAHI) have reached an agreement which will bring NAHI back to the STIHL National Championship Air Races this year and for many years to come.
For 2018, NAHI and RARA will host a display of vintage aircraft to celebrate NAHI's return to the STIHL National Championship Air Races. Beginning in 2019, NAHI will have a full vintage aircraft competition including judging in multiple categories and hosting the People's Choice Award, which is sponsored by Air & Space Smithsonian Magazine.
NAHI was founded in 1998 at the Reno Air Races by four well-known aviation-oriented organizations; Rolls-Royce, the Reno Air Racing Association, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the National Aviation Hall of Fame. The goal of NAHI is to maintain our nation's rich aviation history by encouraging the restoration of vintage aircraft to airworthy condition. In addition, they utilize the aircraft, owners, pilots and aviation legends to encourage students to pursue careers within the aviation and aerospace industry.
"NAHI held its first vintage aircraft competition on the ramp at Reno in 1999 and were a key part of the Reno experience for the 16 years," said Fred Telling, CEO and Chairman of RARA. "Over the years they have hosted several hundred of the finest vintage aircraft in North America to compete at the Reno Air Races. RARA believes that the NAHI vintage aircraft and the National Aviation Hall of Fame Enshrinees offer another major attraction for guests attending the STIHL National Championship Air Races and we are extremely pleased to have NAHI back this year."
"NAHI was born at the Reno Air Races, and it has enjoyed a great relationship with the race fans," said Ken Perich, Chairman and Executive Director of NAHI. "In addition to displaying some of the finest restored vintage aircraft in the country on the Reno ramp, we have been honored to have National Aviation Hall of Fame Enshrinees, including; Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan, Bob Hoover, Dick Rutan, Robert "Hoot" Gibson, Herb Kelleher, Clay Lacy, Bud Anderson, General (ret) Joe Engle, General (ret) Bill Anders, Patty Wagstaff and Sean D. Tucker participate in our annual events and help present trophies to our winners."
"Part of securing our future is preserving our past, and this is a big part of that effort, said Tony Logoteta, COO and Board member of RARA. "We have taken this renewed relationship very seriously, and NAHI will play a major role in our annual event. Our multi-year agreement will make NAHI a critical component of the expanded Reno experience. We want the aviation community to know; the Reno Air Races is the HOME of the National Aviation Heritage Invitational."
"The vintage aircraft compete for the coveted Neil A. Armstrong Aviation Heritage Trophy, which represents one of the highest honors an aircraft restorer can receive," said Robert "Hoot" Gibson, Astronaut, Air Racer and NAHI Ambassador.
Throughout the year the Armstrong Trophy resides at the Hazy Center of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
"The judging criteria was created by representatives of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and emphasizes authenticity and attention to detail," stated 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."