Photo of David McCullough, author of The Wright Brothers, looking at historical pictures inside the Wright Company factory.
David McCullough in the Wright Company factory

David McCullough wins NAHF award

In NAHA News, National Aviation Hall of Fame /

DAYTON, Ohio—Author David McCullough has won the National Aviation Hall of Fame’s (NAHF’s) 14th Annual Combs Gates Award for his best-selling book, The Wright Brothers, NAHF officials announced Thursday, Sept. 15.

NAHF officials and enshrinees will present the $20,000 cash prize to McCullough on Nov. 2 at the National Business Aviation Association’s annual convention in Orlando, Fla.

The Wright Brothers (Simon & Shuster, 2015) explores the lives of Dayton brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright, who invented the system of controlled flight used by all airplanes today.  Since its release, The Wright Brothers has been a New York Times No. 1 best-seller. Actor-director Tom Hanks’ production company Playtone has bought the screen rights to it for an HBO miniseries.

NAHA nominated McCullough’s book for the award because it has rekindled interest in the Wright brothers and boosted awareness that Wilbur and Orville lived in Dayton and did most of their research and development work in the Dayton area. Wright brothers’ sites in the area have seen an increase in visitation since its publication. NAHA recently released a YouTube video in which McCullough discusses the importance of saving the Wright Company factory. The Wright Brothers is also one of four titles in the running for Dayton’s next Big Read.

McCullough has twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for Truman and John Adams, and twice received the National Book Award, for The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback.  He now adds the prestigious Combs Gates Award for The Wright Brothers.

The Combs Gates Award is named for the late Harry Combs, who established it with an initial grant, and the late Charles C. and June S. Gates. Charles Gates and Combs were partners in several aviation businesses.

The award is intended to encourage and support aviation history research and preservation efforts. A panel of expert judges review each submission based upon criteria such as historical accuracy, creativity, potential for long-term impact, and value to the NAHF mission of honoring America’s outstanding air and space pioneers.

The Hall of Fame is a NAHA partner.