$20K Combs Gates Award “Call for Entries” announced by National Aviation Hall of Fame

  • May 1, 2014 1:14pm GMT
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Earlier this week the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) publicly announced it’s “call for entries” for the 12th Annual Combs Gates Award. The prestigious $20,000 cash award is presented each year to an individual or group for a submitted project juried to be exemplary in the promotion and preservation of America’s air and space heritage. Ideally the subject of submitted projects spotlights on one or more of the 219 men and women aviation pioneers that have been inducted to date into the Congressionally chartered, non-profit NAHF.

The 2014 award ceremony will take place, as it has each year, during a special session of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) annual meeting and convention. The NBAA convention is the largest civil aviation even in the world and this year takes place on October 21-23 in Orlando, Florida. In addition to officials from the NAHF and NBAA, presenting the award will be several enshrinees of the NAHF.

Among projects eligible for the Combs Gates Award are books, film/video, public exhibits, photography and artwork. The deadline for 2014 submissions is June 15, and full details of the guidelines are posted at www.nationalaviation.org.

A blue ribbon panel of five judges independently reviews each submission based upon criteria such as historical accuracy, creativity, potential for long-term impact, and value to the Hall of Fame mission of honoring America’s outstanding air and space pioneers. Applicants will be notified of the winner by August 15, 2014.

The prestigious Combs Award, its original title, grew out of a donation to the NAHF by the late Harry Combs, a 1996 enshrinee of the Hall of Fame. As part of his generous $1.3 million gift for the creation of a NAHF research center, Combs stipulated that the Combs Award be established to encourage and support relevant aviation history research and preservation efforts.

Combs was instrumental to the growth and development of business aviation. Consequently the NAHF partnered with the NBAA to host the award presentation at its annual meeting and convention, the largest purely civil aviation event in the world. The inaugural award was presented at the Opening General Session of the NBAA Meeting & Convention in 2003, the 100th anniversary of the first powered flight.

John Gates and his sister, Diane G. Wallach, are co-trustees of the Gates Frontiers Fund, created by their late parents and philanthropists, Charles C. and June S. Gates. The late Mr. Gates, who passed away in 2005 at age 84, was a partner with Combs in several aviation businesses including the Combs Gates FBO chain and Gates Learjet.

In 2006, the award name changed to reflect the Gates Frontiers Fund’s support, paying homage to Gates’ belief in the benefit of historic preservation and study, and to Combs’ own research efforts behind his acclaimed 1979 book, Kill Devil Hill: Discovering the Secrets of the Wright Brothers. Combs was inspired to write the book after close friend and fellow NAHF enshrinee, Neil Armstrong, presented him a bound collection of the Wright Brothers’ personal papers.

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