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The National Aviation Heritage Invitational (NAHI) was formally established in 1990's by four major aviation oriented organizations: Rolls-Royce, The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, The National Aviation Hall of Fame and the Reno Air Racing Foundation. The objective of the Invitational is to encourage the preservation of our rich aviation heritage by encouraging the restoration of vintage aircraft to airworthy condition.

NAHI held its first competition in 1999 at Stead Field outside of Reno, Nevada concurrent with the Reno Air Races. Since then, the Invitational has held events at Stead Field through 2015 and has also hosted competitions at the Dayton Air Show concurrent with the National Aviation Hall of Fame annual Enshrinement ceremonies. To date NAHI has hosted over 20 competitions which feature an average of 25 30 outstanding examples of expertly restored vintage aircraft at each competition.

The annual competitions are divided into five categories: Antique, Classic, Contemporary, Military and Large Aircraft. All aircraft participating in a NAHI event must be 45 years old or older and restored to a condition early in the life of the aircraft. The aircraft must be in airworthy condition.

Beginning in 2017, the host event for NAHI will be the California Capital Airshow, which has its home at Mather Field in Sacramento, California.

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