Tuesday, March 31, 2009

7th Annual Combs Gates Award Call for Entries


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Seventh Annual Combs Gates Award
"Call for Entries" announced by
National Aviation Hall of Fame


$20,000 award recognizes excellence in preserving aviation history


(Dayton, OH – March 31, 2009) The National Aviation Hall of Fame has officially announced a nationwide "call for entries" for its Seventh Annual Combs Gates Award.   The prestigious $20,000 cash honor is presented annually to an individual or group for a submitted project juried to be exemplary in advancing the promotion and preservation of America's air and space heritage. The 2009 award ceremony will take place, as it has each year, at the Opening General Session of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Annual Meeting and Convention this October 20-22 in Orlando, Florida.


Among projects eligible for the Combs Gates Award are books, film/video, public exhibits and artwork. In keeping with the NAHF's Congressionally chartered mission of honoring outstanding individual air and space pioneers, applicants are encouraged to submit a project with an emphasis on personal, human achievement. The deadline for submissions is May 25, 2009. A blue ribbon panel of five judges will independently review each project and applicants will be notified of the winner by September 1, 2009.   Full details of the award criteria, eligibility and application guidelines are available by calling the NAHF at (937) 256-0944 x18 or by visiting www.nationalaviation.org.


The Combs Award was originally named for its founder, NAHF enshrinee Harry Combs, and first presented at NBAA during the Centennial anniversary of powered flight in 2003. Combs died later the same year at age 90. In addition to being a pioneer of civil aviation, Combs was also a noted historian, author and philanthropist. Combs funded the initial three years of the award as part of an overall $1.3 million gift to the NAHF Learning & Research Center made prior to its opening in 2003. 


In 2006, the changed the award's name to the Combs Gates Award, to reflect the new, ongoing support of the Charles C. and June S. Gates Family through a Gates Frontiers Fund grant to continue the contest. Charles C. Gates, who passed away in 2005 at age 84, was a prominent business aviation partner of Combs and shared his passion for the preservation of America's air and space history.


"Thanks to the vision of Harry Combs, and now with the aid of the Gates family, the projects this award encourages help the National Aviation Hall of Fame highlight the inspirational legacies of our great air and space pioneers for generations to come," said Ron Kaplan, Executive Director.   "It's not surprising that several enshrinees participate annually in presenting the award, as much to salute Mr. Combs' and Mr. Gates' spirit of support as to honor the recipient."


"Most committed historians toil with dedication and passion but without much tangible acknowledgement of their effort," explained Kaplan. "The Combs Gates Award, named for a pair of aviation legends in their own right, generously and prominently corrects that.   It's the privilege of the National Aviation Hall of Fame to administer such a mission-relevant process and spotlight a well-deserving historian at NBAA each year."


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The National Aviation Hall of Fame was founded in Dayton, Ohio, in 1962 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1964 to honor America's outstanding air & space pioneers. In 2003 the NAHF opened its 17,000 square-foot public Learning Center featuring six galleries that chronicle the exciting history of flight with a focus on the people that made it happen. A variety of interactive displays highlight achievements of many of the 199 enshrinees honored thus far. The site is also home to the Harry B. Combs Research Center, dedicated to preserving tens of thousands of images and documents tracing the enshrinees' life stories. Project SkyReach is the NAHF's character-building education initiative, using enshrinees as compelling role models for youth. Located adjacent to the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, public admission to the NAHF is free. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the NAHF is supported primarily through memberships, grants and the contributions of individuals and corporations.


Media contact:


Ron Kaplan                                                      TEL: (937) 256-0944 ext. 16

NAHF Executive Director                               rkaplan@nationalaviation.org



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