Yes, it feels like a great match—the National Aviation Heritage Invitational’s 20th year will be celebrated at the STIHL National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada, on September 15 to 19, 2021. The vintage aircraft competition, founded in 1998, pits restored aircraft from five categories against each other for the Neil A. Armstrong Aviation Heritage Trophy during the air race event.
The goals of the NAHI are twofold, according to the association: “To encourage the preservation of our rich aviation history by encouraging the restoration of vintage aircraft to airworthy condition and to help inspire our nation’s youth to pursue careers within the aviation and aerospace industry.”
Aircraft must be restored to airworthy condition and be manufactured at least 45 years ago at the time of the 2021 competition—so, 1976 or earlier. The aircraft compete in five categories, based on age and disposition:
Antique: These include civil aircraft manufactured in 1945 and earlier. The winning aircraft will be awarded the Orville and Wilber Wright trophy.
Classic: These include civil aircraft manufactured from 1946 to 1956, inclusive. The winning aircraft will be awarded the Paul E. Garber trophy.
Contemporary: These include civil aircraft manufactured in 1956 to 1976, inclusive. The winning aircraft will be awarded the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Trophy.
Military: These include military aircraft manufactured in 1976 and before. The winning aircraft will be awarded the Henry “Hap” Arnold trophy.
Large Aircraft: These include aircraft (both civilian and military) that were manufactured in 1976 and before with wingspans of 45 feet or more. The winning aircraft will be awarded the Herb Kelleher trophy.
An additional “People’s Choice” trophy will be awarded to the aircraft receiving the most voted from the event’s attendees. The NAHI site is now accepting applications for the 2021 competition.