National Aviation Hall of Fame Announces 18th Annual Combs Gates Award “Call for Entries”


National Aviation Hall of Fame Announces 18th Annual Combs Gates Award “Call for Entries” 

$20,000 Juried Prize to be Presented at 2020 NBAA Convention in Orlando

Dayton, Ohio-The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) is pleased to open the 2020 Combs-Gates Award “call for entries.”  The prestigious $20,000 cash award is presented each year to an individual or group for a project judged to be exemplary in the promotion and preservation of America’s air and space heritage.  Submitted projects ideally spotlight one or more of the 249 men and women aviation pioneers that have been inducted into the Congressionally-chartered, non-profit NAHF.

The 2020 award ceremony will take place during a special session of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) annual meeting and convention.  The NBAA convention will be on October 6-8 in Orlando, Florida and is the largest civil aviation event in the world.  Officials from the NAHF and NBAA, alongside NAHF Enshrinees, will present the award.

The judges of the Combs-Gates Award will independently review each award submission based upon criteria such as historical accuracy, creativity, potential for long-term impact and value to the NAHF mission of honoring America’s outstanding air and space pioneers.  Winning applicants will be notified by August 17.

1996 Enshrinee Harry Combs established the Combs Award to encourage and support relevant historic research and preservation in aviation.  The name of the honor was changed to the Combs-Gates Award a decade later, when John Gates and his sister, Diane G. Wallach, chose to commemorate their father’s dedication to historic preservation and study in aviation.

The late Charles Gates, who passed away in 2005, partnered with Combs on several aviation businesses, including the Combs Gates FBO chain and Gates Learjet.  Mr. Combs was instrumental in the growth and development of business aviation. It was therefore fitting when in 2003, the 100th anniversary of the first powered flight, the NAHF partnered with NBAA to host the inaugural Combs Gates Award presentation at the NBAA annual meeting and convention.

Sarah Byrn Rickman’s two-volume work, “WASPs Pilots,” earned the 17th Annual Combs-Gates Award. 2010 Enshrinee Mr. Clay Lacy, 2009 Enshrinee Sean D. Tucker and 2019 Enshrinees Mr. & Mrs. John and Martha King presented the award to Ms. Byrn Rickman with NBAA President Ed Bolen, Chairman Michael Quiello and several members of the NAHF Board.

The NAHF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in Dayton, Ohio in 1962 and chartered by an Act of the U.S. Congress in 1964. The NAHF Heritage Hall & Education Center is committed to informing the public of American aviation heroes, their accomplishments and their impact on advances in aviation from Early Flight to Space Travel. The NAHF strives to create a distinctive educational resource that will inspire future generations to appreciate our nation’s extraordinary aviation heritage and the men and women who created it.

To learn more about the NAHF or apply for the Combs-Gates Award, please visit