DAYTON, Ohio — The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) has officially made its nationwide “call for entries” for the 13th Annual Combs Gates Award. The $20,000 cash award is presented each year to an individual or group for a submitted project judged to be exemplary in the promotion and preservation of America’s air and space heritage.
The subject of submitted projects ideally spotlights one or more of the 225 aviation pioneers inducted into the Hall of Fame. Projects eligible for the award are books, film/video, public exhibits, photography and artwork. The deadline for submissions is June 15.
The 2015 award ceremony will take place during a special session of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) annual meeting and convention, Nov. 17-19 in Las Vegas. Officials from the NAHF and NBAA will present the award, joined by several previous enshrinees of the NAHF.
A 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 Aug. 28.
The 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 $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.
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 was 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.”