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Sat, Sep 19, 2009

Herb Kelleher To Present Trophy At Aviation Heritage Invitational

National Championship Air Races' 'Person Of The Year'

Southwest Airlines co-founder Herb Kelleher, a 2009 National Aviation Hall of Fame enshrinee and National Championship Air Races' 'Person of the Year', will join four other aviation legends to present awards for restored classic, antique and military aircraft at the National Aviation Heritage Invitational. Joining Mr. Kelleher will be famed aerobatic performer Patty Wagstaff; decorated fighter pilot, Bud Anderson; aviation pioneer, Dick Rutan, and WWII hero and air race icon, R.A. "Bob" Hoover.
The award ceremony begins at 10:30 Sunday, September 20 at the NAHI static display area -east of the grandstand - next to the military static aircraft.

Kelleher is famous for his innovation and passion in the aviation industry. Kelleher and business partner Rollin King launched Southwest Airlines 38 years ago. "We are honored to have such a spectacular group of aviation pioneers and legends to be part of our ceremonies in our 11th year here at Reno," said Ken Perich, Executive Director of the National Aviation Heritage Invitational.

Herb Kelleher

The National Aviation Heritage Invitational is also very proud and honored to have former Astronaut and Space Shuttle Commander Captain USN (retired) Robert "Hoot" Gibson as its official Ambassador. Gibson is well known in at the Reno Air Races as an Unlimited class and Jet class pilot. Gibson a decorated Naval aviator and test pilot has flown more than 110 types of aircraft.

Owners and restorers have worked literally thousands of hours on these wonderful treasures and testaments to our rich aviation heritage and are vying for the coveted Rolls-Royce Aviation Heritage Trophy. The Invitational brings the bygone age of aviation back to life with the prestigious antique, classic and warbird aircraft competition.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.

Robert "Hoot" Gibson

The National Aviation Hall of Fame's 'People's Choice' trophy is awarded to the owner of the aircraft which receives the most votes from the public reviewing the aircraft during the Invitational. Voting ends September 19 at 5:00 p.m.

When not on display at the Invitational, the striking six-foot tall Rolls-Royce Aviation Heritage Trophy resides at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington DC where the winning aircraft owner's name and the name of the restoration facility is engraved on a plaque placed on the trophy. The overall winner is presented with a keeper trophy.

FMI: www.heritagetrophy.org

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