The glittering, black-tie National Aviation Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony that draws aviation pioneers and legends across the nation will head to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force this fall, organizers said.
The new home will put the Oct. 4 dinner next door to the National Aviation Hall of Fame inside the Air Force museum.
“We cannot think of a better venue to be under the wings and also adjacent to the National Aviation Hall of Fame Learning Center,” said Betty Darst, enshrinement committee chairwoman.
The decision to move the event out of the Dayton Convention Center was based on economics, the backdrop of inducting aviation notables surrounded by jet aircraft in the Modern Flight Gallery and and within feet of the Hall of Fame, said Ron Kaplan, enshrinement director.
As part of the changes, organizers will no longer stage a “president’s dinner” regaled with pilots’ hangar stories at the museum the night before the enshrinement ceremony at the convention center, he said.
The two dinners ended up competing against each other, he said. “That was just unwieldy and after further study (Hall of Fame leaders) decided it was unnecessary,” he said.
Putting on both dinners can cost as much as $250,000 during the weekend celebration, he said. “We’ll be under $200,000” this year, he said. “What I can’t say is by how much.”
The change will mean less than 600 tickets are available this year for one event. The enshrinement ceremony has in recent years drawn 650 to 700 people, down from 900 to 1,000 in past years.
We have reporters in Washington and in the Miami Valley dedicated to bringing you the latest national security and military news, especially on the impact to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Notable presenters and inductees:
- NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will be the presenter for former shuttle astronaut and one-time Navy fighter pilot Capt. Robert “Hoot” Gibson.
- Former NASA astronaut Guion S. “Guy” Bluford Jr., the first African-American in space, will present the induction award on behalf of the late C. Alfred “Chief” Anderson, known as “the father of African-American aviation in both civilian and military pilot training. Anderson was a chief instructor of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American military pilots of World War II fame.
- Former Cessna Chief Executive Officer Jack J. Pelton will present the enshrinement award honoring the late Dwane L. Wallace, the Depression and World War II era leader of Cessna Aircraft Co.
- Former Army Capt. Meghan Brady Smith will present the enshrinement award to her father, retired Maj. Gen. Patrick H. Brady, the first Army aviator to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and a Medal of Honor recipient. The combat veteran was instrumental in the development of helicopter medevac techniques in the Vietnam war, saving 5,000 wounded soldiers.