Due to a surge in interest fueled by recent news of several high-profile participants, The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) has extended its deadline for the public to purchase seats to its two upcoming annual celebrations. The original deadline of last Friday, July 1, has been extended to Saturday, July 9, for anyone wishing to witness the 50th Annual Enshrinement Dinner and Ceremony, held Saturday, July 16, at the Dayton Convention Center. The extension also includes reservations for the NAHF’s 2011 President’s Reception and Dinner held the night before, Friday, July 15, in the NAHF Learning Center and the adjacent National Museum of the United States Air Force.
Seats to either event remain available to the public for $150 per person and include a hosted reception, dinner and the evening program.
On Friday, July 15, the NAHF will bestow several annual awards, including the 2011 Milton Caniff “Spirit of Flight” Award to the Navy’s Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team in recognition of its 65 years of service. Former TV news host David Hartman will then lead a panel of six Naval Aviators and astronauts, including a WWII ace and two former Blue Angels, in discussing the Centennial of Naval Aviation being celebrated throughout 2011.
On Saturday, July 16, the NAHF will host its 50th annual black-tie enshrinement gala, an event widely known as “the Oscar Night of Aviation.” Four pioneers will be added to the roster of 207 enshrinees previously so honored by the Congressionally chartered NAHF. The Enshrinee Class of 2011 and their personally selected ceremony presenters are:
- The late Capt. Iven Kincheloe, USAF – Korean War jet ace and record-setting test pilot hailed as “The First Man in Space.” Presenting will be 1979 Enshrinee and former astronaut, Neil Armstrong. Accepting will be Capt. Kincheloe’s widow, Mrs. Dorothy Kincheloe.
- Col. Charles E. McGee, USAF (Ret) – WWII Tuskegee Airman and veteran of 409 fighter combat missions flown throughout three wars. Presenting will be 1982 Enshrinee and former astronaut, Frank Borman. Accepting will be Col. McGee.
- Dr. S. Harry Robertson – Engineer and inventor of crashworthy helicopter fuel systems, and a pioneer of crash investigation and aerospace safety. Presenting will be former Army Vice Chief of Staff, General Richard Cody (Ret.). Accepting will be Dr. Robertson.
- The late General Thomas D. White, USAF – Former USAF Chief of Staff and architect of integrating space technology into our modern air defense structure. The word “aerospace” was coined under his watch. Presenter: Secretary of the Air Force, Michael B. Donley. Accepting will be Rebecca White McCoy, daughter of Gen. White.
NAHF Enshrinement Director Ron Kaplan explained that the extension provides a great opportunity for anyone to experience living history and meet the stars of air and space in Dayton, the Birthplace of Aviation. “Good seats are still available, and both these exciting events are vital to supporting the Hall of Fame’s public, interactive Learning Center,” said Kaplan.
Among the luminaries Kaplan cites are ceremony presenters like Secretary of the Air Force, Michael B. Donley; former Vice Chief of the Army and attack helicopter pilot, retired General Richard Cody; and former enshrinees and Apollo astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Frank Borman.
“As always seems to be the case, our honorees attract their own ‘who’s who’ of aviation heroes and legends,” said Kaplan, “such as Colonel Charles McGee, who’ll have a group of fellow Tuskegee Airmen plus several Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) in the audience to cheer his formal enshrinement into the Hall.” He pointed out the significance of their attendance given that travel can be a challenge for these WWII vets. Kaplan said that several ceremony sponsors and donors have contributed to making the attendance of the Tuskegee Airmen and WASPs possible.
Advance reservations for the NAHF’s 50th Annual Enshrinement Dinner & Ceremony on July 16, or the 2011 President’s Reception and Dinner, held Friday, July 15, 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: NationalAviation.org