The National Aviation Hall of Fame (Booth No. 7994) has announced the recipient of its Fifth Annual Combs Gates Award. The Annapolis, Md.-based winner, Jane Birch, will receive a $20,000 cash prize for her soon-to be published book, They Flew Proud. The work was inspired by the World War II experiences of her father, Gardner Birch, a flight instructor in the Civilian Pilot Training Program.
Birch’s award–to be presented near the end of the NBAA’s Opening General Session today–is particularly impressive on two counts. They Flew Proud is her first-ever publication; and she has no background in aviation or the military.