"Class of 2009" inductees and 2009 Spirit of Flight Award recipient
Four legends of flight, Apollo Crews to be formally honored in Dayton this July
(Dayton, Ohio - December 17, 2008) Tonight the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) will reveal the names of the four individuals elected for enshrinement this July along with the recipient of its 2009 Milton Caniff "Spirit of Flight" Award. The announcement is a special presentation at a dinner celebrating the 105th Anniversary of the Wright Brothers first powered flight.
The Class of 2009 is: Eileen Collins, USAF test pilot and first female Shuttle commander; Russell Meyer, Jr., former Chairman and CEO of Cessna Aircraft Company; the late James M. Stewart, WWII bomber pilot, award winning actor and airpower advocate; the late Edward H. White, II, West Point grad,USAF test pilot, and Gemini and Apollo astronaut. Collins and Meyer will personally accept their honors. The daughter of Stewart and son and daughter of White will attend, accepting enshrinement on behalf of their late fathers at the July 18th dinner and ceremony in Dayton, Ohio.
The 2009 Milton Caniff "Spirit of Flight" Award recipient will be the Apollo Astronaut Crews, honored for their role in enabling man to walk on the lunar surface and return safely to earth. The award, bestowed annually upon a group or organization in recognition of its achievement in advancing aviation, will be presented at the NAHF President's Reception & Dinner in Dayton, Friday, July 17th – three days before the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. All surviving Apollo astronauts have been invited to accept the honor in person and attend the enshrinement ceremony the following night, which includes the induction of their fellow crewman, late Ed White, II, who lost his life in the Apollo 1 launch pad fire in 1967.
The NAHF Learning Center and the adjacent National Museum of the United States Air Force will serve as the venue for the annual first flight anniversary dinner and announcement. Tonight's event is hosted by Dayton-based Aviation Trail, Inc. (ATI), a non-profit organization promoting over forty regional partnering aviation sites and venues.
Each year, the NAHF Board of Nominations, a voting body comprised of over 130 air and space professionals nationwide, selects the handful of individuals to be recognized for their aviation achievements through enshrinement into the NAHF. Making the announcement tonight will be Chairman of the NAHF Board of Trustees, retired Air Force Colonel Garald K. "Robbie" Robinson.
Often referred to as "America's Oscar Night of Aviation," the NAHF enshrinement celebration in July will attract hundreds of industry leaders, government and defense officials, former enshrinees, and aviation enthusiasts worldwide.
The formal enshrinement ceremony will take place in Dayton - The Birthplace of Aviation – on Saturday, July 18, 2009, where the four will join the 199 legends of flight previously so honored by the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Advance reservations for the NAHF's 48th Annual Enshrinement Dinner & Ceremony on July 18, 2009, may be placed by calling 937-256-0944 ext.10. Seats are $150 per person and a portion of each seat purchased is deductible as allowed by law. For more information visit the NAHF website at www.nationalaviation.org or call 937-256-0944 ext.10.
The NAHF is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in Dayton in 1962 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1964. Its mission is to honor America's outstanding air and space pioneers, which it does through a 17,000 square-foot public Learning Center featuring interactive exhibits, a youth education program, its annual enshrinement ceremony, and other public outreach programs.