Decision on Aviation Hall of Fame ceremony delayed

A top state leader and Dayton aviation boosters lobbied National Aviation Hall of Fame leaders Thursday to keep a decades-old enshrinement ceremony in Dayton instead of considering moving it out of state.

The black-tie event, dubbed “Oscars night in aviation,” has lost money in recent years and organizers have considered relocating the enshrinement of aviation notables to a new locale out of state, organizers have said. A decision, expected Thursday, was postponed until Dec. 15.

Fort Worth, Texas, is a potential site where the enshrinement ceremony could move, according to Tony Sculimbrene, executive director of the National Aviation Heritage Alliance.

“That bullet has been dodged for at least the next two weeks,” he said.

Meeting for four hours behind closed doors Thursday in what was described as an emotional meeting, National Aviation Hall of Fame leaders decided to explore keeping the yearly enshrinement ceremony of inductees at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson.

They also want to see what financial support the Dayton region and Ohio will offer to defray the cost of the black-tie event, according to Ron Kaplan, enshrinement director.

The ceremony has faced lackluster financial support locally, and sponsorships and ticket sales in recent years have failed to cover costs, organizers have said.

Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger called the Hall of Fame trustees during the board meeting Thursday to lobby to keep the enshrinement in Dayton.

“I offered to help wherever I can. I didn’t offer to get into any kind of state assistance, specifically taxpayer dollars exclusively, but definitely whatever I can lend my voice and help to support their event, I told them we would do that,” he said in an interview with this newspaper, adding a number of federal and state lawmakers were ready to help.

State Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, who said he was in the room with Rosenberger when he made the call, said moving the enshrinement was “unacceptable.”

“We need this to stay here,” Perales said in a phone interview. “This is the birthplace of aviation and the enshrinement belongs here at the (Air Force) museum and we need to come together to make sure this happens.”

Trustees were asked to slow down a final decision, he said.

“Speaker Rosenberger dropped everything on his calendar to make sure they understood that there’s nothing more important (and) that we cannot and will not lose the enshrinement ceremony,” Perales said. “Sure, it could happen, but it’s not going to happen without a fight.”

The induction ceremony, a who’s who of aerospace legends, has remained in Dayton since it launched in 1962.

For a year, NAHF trustees have reviewed possible locations where the enshrinement might relocate, Kaplan said.

“There was a number of communities that were explored and several were contracted and the decision on (Dec. 15) will be to stay here or go to one of those welcoming communities,” he said.

Fort Worth Alliance Air Show organizers have expressed interest in a one-time NAHF enshrinement ceremony. “It’s all very early, very preliminary and nothing is confirmed at all,” air show spokesman Randy E. Pruett said Thursday. The Texas air show is scheduled in October.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Military

Miami Valley veterans chosen for Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame
Miami Valley veterans chosen for Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame

Three Miami Valley veterans are among 20 statewide chosen as the newest inductees into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. The two Air Force veterans and a former Marine include: * Blanche Aviles Casey, 73, of Beavercreek, a veteran of both the Vietnam War and Persian Gulf War era who became a federal servant after serving 30 years in the Air Force. Casey...
Fighter jets to simulate threat over Springfield, Dayton area
Fighter jets to simulate threat over Springfield, Dayton area

Residents in the Springfield and Dayton area might see fighter jets flying close to Civil Air Patrol aircraft from 6:30 to 9 p.m. tonight while jets from the 180th Fighter Wing in Toledo conduct a test of the Aerospace Control Alert system. The purpose of the event is to exercise coordination between the Eastern Air Defense Sector, Federal Aviation...
Look up! F-16s filling night sky near Springfield for training flights
Look up! F-16s filling night sky near Springfield for training flights

Springfield area residents might see or hear F-16 fighter jets overhead throughout this week as the Ohio Air National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing conducts training night training flights. The unit, based in Toledo, is expected to conduct night operations through Thursday, Oct. 19, weather permitting. RELATED: Springfield Guard members assisting...
Nate Boyer, ex-Green Beret and NFL player, pens letter to Trump, Kaepernick
Nate Boyer, ex-Green Beret and NFL player, pens letter to Trump, Kaepernick

Ex-Green Beret and former Seattle Seahawks long-snapper took a central role when Colin Kaepernick began his protest during the national anthem and with that issue now dividing the country, he’s doing so again. Boyer penned an open letter published by ESPN on Friday that to President Donald Trump, Kaepernick, the NFL and every other...
Archdeacon: Puerto Rican community here still battling the ‘monster’
Archdeacon: Puerto Rican community here still battling the ‘monster’

Juan Santana and his family have always been tight. That was the case when they formed a family baseball team — Los Santana — back home in Naranjito, Puerto Rico and they would play other teams around the island: “My cousins played and my uncles, too,” he said. “My dad was the catcher until I got old enough and then I...
More Stories