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Air Races to host restored, rare aircraft
by Tribune Staff
Aug 18, 2011 | 429 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
STEAD — Now in its 13th year, the National Aviation Heritage Invitational, held in conjunction with the National Championship Air Races, gives aircraft owners and restorers the opportunity to bring their brilliantly restored aircraft to the high desert of northern Nevada where they compete for the prestigious Rolls-Royce Aviation Heritage Trophy.

Established in 1998, the event has been called the nation’s premiere traveling aviation museum. Admission to view the invitational is open to anyone attending the Reno Air Races, set for Sept. 14 through 18.

Throughout race week spectators can take a walk through aviation history as they view a wide array of beautifully restored airplanes, including a 1938 Lockheed 12A, a 1944 North American P-51, a 1949 Piper PA-16 Clipper and a 1951 Cessna L-19 Birddog, along with many other living testaments to aviation history.

The invitational competition encourages the preservation and restoration of historic aircraft to airworthy condition and to the highest standards of workmanship and historical accuracy. Participants compete in four categories with aircraft that are 45 years and older — Antique (early aircraft pre-1945), Classic (post 1946) Warbird and Large Aircraft — and are judged by a five-member panel that includes representatives from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

Each aircraft is judged on its technical merit and how well it represents the aircraft early in its career. Authenticity to the original manufacturer’s condition is the “gold standard” for each plane.

The large aircraft will be gracing the ramp for a second year in a row. Open to both civil and military aircraft 45 years old or older with wingspans greater than 45 feet. These aircraft can be single or multi-engine and must be restored to airworthy condition. Sponsored by Air Transport World, the winner in that category will be presented with the Howard Hughes Trophy.

The National Aviation Hall of Fame’s People’s Choice trophy is awarded to the owner of the aircraft that receives the most votes from the public reviewing the aircraft during the Invitational. Voting ends Sept. 17 at 5 p.m.

For more information on the event, visit

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