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Nominations Sought for US Soaring Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have made the highest achievements in, or contributions to, the sport of soaring in the United States. The Hall of Fame is an institution of the SSA, which is administered by the National Soaring Museum.

Up to two candidates may be elected to the Hall of Fame each year. Any member of the SSA may submit an individual's name as a nominee to the National Soaring Museum for consideration. Each submission must be accompanied by a detailed statement setting out the achievements or contributions of the nominee justifying consideration for election to the Hall of Fame. Nominations submitted will be reviewed by a vetting board which will reduce the list of candidates in any year to not more than two. The Board of Directors of the SSA will vote on the persons on the list whose names, if approved, will be submitted for final approval by SSA Life Members and SSA members with 15 or more consecutive years of SSA membership.

Nominations, along with the detailed statement described above, must be received by the National Soaring Museum.

To assist in the nomination and selection process, the Board of Directors of the SSA has adopted Guidelines clarifying details of the formal Procedure which comprises the rules governing the Hall of Fame. Those details which relate to the nomination process are set out below.

The long-standing defining statement is "The United States Soaring Hall of Fame, created in 1954, recognizes individuals who have made the highest achievements in, or contributions to, the sport of soaring in the United States of America."

Expanding on the underlined words:

Soaring: the achievements/contributions must be in the sport of soaring.
Fame: the individual must be widely recognized in the soaring community.
Individuals: only an individual (one person) may qualify for nomination. Two or more persons sharing achievements/contributions must be nominated separately.
Highest achievements in or contributions to: the achievements/contributions must be of outstanding significance. A single achievement or contribution is not sufficient - it must be achievements or contributions - note the use of the plural.
United States of America: the achievements/contributions must have nationwide significance in the United States of America.

A nominee's achievements/contributions must be (or have been) long-lasting for the sport of soaring in the United States.

Achievements/contributions as part of a substantial financial interest, or as part of compensated service to the SSA or its affiliates, are not qualifiers for the Hall of Fame. Routine and/or long-time voluntary efforts (such as service as instructors, tow pilots, committee members, contest helpers, etc.) may be considered as only ancillary to the prerequisite of highest achievements/contributions.

Examples of past Hall of Famers are selected from each decade of the second half of the last century to illustrate the required characteristics for election to the Hall of Fame:

1956: Dick Johnson
1967: Paul Bikle
1971: Virginia Schweizer
1984: Bernald Smith
1997: Thomas Knauff

Description of the various Hall of Fame characteristics as they apply to these five examples are as follows:

Soaring -- All of these typical members of the Hall of Fame were involved in the sport of soaring -- some in administration and volunteer services, some in competition and record soaring, many in both.

Johnson -- Competition, records, technical
Bikle -- Competition, records, administration, technical
Schweizer -- Competition, records
Smith -- Administration, publications
Knauff -- Competition, records, author

Fame -- There is hardly a person (especially long time members) in the sport of soaring who would not recognize these names almost immediately. While previous awards are not a necessary qualification, most of these people were highly rewarded before (or after) being inducted into the Hall of Fame:

Johnson -- Lilienthal, Tissandier, OSTIV Plaque, Eaton, Tuntland, etc.
Bikle -- Lilienthal, Tissandier, OSTIV Plaque, Eaton, Tuntland, Barringer
Schweizer -- Katherine Wright Award
Smith -- Lilienthal, FAI Bronze, Tissandier, Eaton (twice), Schweizer, etc.
Knauff -- Kronfield, Eaton, du Pont, Stroukoff, etc.

Individual -- Each of these persons made their contributions as individuals although they may have been involved with a team.

Johnson -- Individual competitions, records, flight tests, etc.
Bikle -- Individual competitions, records, flight tests, competition verification, etc.
Schweizer -- Individual competitions, records, etc.
Smith -- Individual national and international management working with groups, etc.
Knauff -- Individual competitions, records, publications, etc.

Highest Achievements/Contributions -- Note this attribute is plural. Hall of Fame inductees became well known because of their significant, multiple and continuing contributions and achievements.

Johnson -- Many times National Champion, World competition, many flight test reports, etc.
Bikle -- Many World/National competitions, many National/World records, etc.
Schweizer -- Many records, National Feminine Champion, solo instruction techniques, etc
Smith -- Many SSA/FAI/OSTIV long time and continuing administrative offices, etc.
Knauff -- Many records, National Champion, World competition, author, etc.

United States of America -- These people made their contributions and achievements as Americans and in such a way as to encompass the entire United States and often internationally as well.

Johnson -- National/World competition/records, widely published technical reports, etc.
Bikle -- National/World competition/records, widely published technical reports, etc.
Schweizer -- National competition/records, first feminine Silver Badge in U.S., etc.
Smith -- National and World participation in governance and management, etc.
Knauff -- National/World competition/records, safety clinics, etc.

Note: These persons are not just competition or record setting pilots for which they received much publicity. They are all pilots who contributed extensively and continually to our sport on at least a national basis but often international as well -- soaring, administratively, continuing.

Please send nominating letters and support material to:

Trafford L. Doherty
Director, National Soaring Museum
51 Soaring Hill Drive
Elmira, NY 14903-9204

Questions? Please call (607) 734-3128.
Email: director@soaringmuseum.org

Nomination letters and support documents (10 copies) should be submitted in a single mailing. Please do not ask others to send support letters separately - they should all be included with the nominating letter.  Nomination deadline is June 30th.

Posted: 4/25/2017

Awards Committee 

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