Gather the top restored aircraft from around the country, then recognize those that most accurately represent how the originals looked when delivered from the factory. That’s the goal of the National Aviation Heritage Invitational competition, held this past September 10-14, during the National Championship Air Races outside Reno, Nev. Awards are given in six categories: antique, classic, large aircraft, military, the People’s Choice award and grand champion.
This year’s grand champion and winner of the Neil A. Armstrong National Aviation Heritage Trophy was Jeanne and Dave Allen’s beautiful 1934 Waco YKC cabin-class biplane. Their YKC was originally delivered in November 1934 to the State of Ohio, which flew it until it was sold to a civilian operator in 1939. In July 1948, the Waco was flipped on its back; it would not be flown for the next 65 years. The Allens acquired the biplane in 2003, and spent the next decade restoring it. The teal-colored Waco was completely detailed, down to the State of Ohio seal on the fuselage.
Competitors for the Paul E. Garber Trophy, awarded to the best classic aircraft, included a Beechcraft S-35 Bonanza, two Cessna 180s, a Piper PA-12 and a pair of Stinson 108 Voyagers. The Garber Trophy went to Junelle and Josh Cawthra for their highly polished 1947 Cessna 140 restoration.
Competing in the antique category were a 1929 Command Aire 5C-3 biplane, the sole-surviving Lockheed DL-1B Vega (see “Restored,” P. 14), a replica Gee Bee Q.E.D. racer (see P. 8), an Interstate S-1A, a Stinson SR-9F and two Howard DGA-15Ps. Tim Weston’s DGA-15P, the last Howard built, received the Orville and Wilbur Wright Trophy.
Rick Clemens took top honors in the large-aircraft category and the Howard Hughes Trophy for his highly polished Douglas A-26C, which was restored by the Sanders Lead Company of Troy, Ala.
This year’s winner of the military category award, the Henry “Hap” Arnold Trophy, also took home the People’s Choice award. Both went to the 1945 Goodyear FG-1D Corsair owned by Brian Reynolds, which was restored by John Lane’s Airpower Unlimited in Jerome, Idaho.
Next year’s National Aviation Heritage Invitational will be held September 16-20.