Institution. 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. The National Soaring Museum (NSM) is responsible for maintaining records of Hall of Fame members, and recognizing them appropriately in the Museum.
Number. Up to two candidates may be elected each year.
Nomination of Candidates. Any Soaring Society of America (SSA) member may submit an individual’s name to the NSM for consideration by the Hall of Fame Vetting Board as a Hall of Fame candidate.
Vetting Board. The Vetting Board shall consist of nine SSA members chosen for their interest in and knowledge of American soaring, past and present: three each chosen and appointed by the SSA Board of Directors and the NSM Board of Trustees and the remaining three consisting of members of the Hall of Fame selected by the Vetting Board members chosen and appointed by the SSA Board of Directors and the NSM Board of Trustees. In addition, the NSM Director will serve as a non-voting ex officio member of the Vetting Board. The nine voting members will serve for overlapping three-year terms. The SSA Board of Directors and the NSM Board of Trustees will initially appoint one three-year member, one two-year member and one one-year member. When the first Hall of Fame members are selected by the Vetting Board, the Vetting Board will specify which will be the three-year, two-year and one-year members.
Required Documentation. Every nomination 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. NSM staff will review nominations and provide additional information to the Vetting Board, if appropriate.
Screening / Final List. All nominations will be screened by the Vetting Board. The Vetting Board will reduce the list of candidates in respect of any year to not more than two.
Voting. The Vetting Board's list shall be submitted to the SSA Board of Directors for approval by 75% majority. Approved candidate’s names will then be submitted for final approval to SSA Life Members and SSA members with 15 or more consecutive years of SSA membership. Final approval is defined as a “yes” vote by at least 75% of the ballots cast. Induction. The names of the inductees shall be announced and brief citations read at the main banquet of the SSA annual convention. The inductee(s), if present, will be recognized. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony (including the arrangements and publicity) shall be the responsibility of the NSM.
Unsuccessful Candidates. The Vetting Board, at its discretion, may reconsider unsuccessful candidates in following years.
Amendment. The rules relating to election to the Hall of Fame may be amended at any time by majority vote of the SSA Board of Directors.
Guidelines for Qualifications of Members of U.S. Soaring Hall of Fame
The long-standing defining statement confirmed by the Board of Directors of The Soaring Society of America, Inc. (“SSA”) in 2005 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:
Further Guidelines for Hall of Fame Qualification
A nominee's achievements/contributions must be (or have been) long-lasting for the sport of soaring in the United States.
To be considered in any calendar year, a nomination must have been received by the Director of the National Soaring Museum not later than June 30 in that year. Every nomination 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. 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.
Nominations should be sent to the address set out at the end of these Guidelines by 30 June of the current year.
Further guidelines for Hall of Fame selection procedure:
The Director of the National Soaring Museum (“NSM Director”) (non-voting ex officio member of the Vetting Board) will distribute nomination papers to all members of the Vetting Board.
The NSM Director will call for discussion among the members of the Vetting Board as to how each nominee fits the Guidelines described herein. Members of the Vetting Board shall not vote nor express a voting intention during the discussion period. All Vetting Board members have the responsibility to participate in the discussion. Opinions shall be expressed to all other Vetting Board members so that all may benefit from the various ideas and comments. Such opinions and discussions shall not be disclosed to the general SSA membership.
After an appropriate time for discussion, the NSM Director will call for a vote by the members of the Vetting Board. Vetting Board members may each vote for zero, one or two candidates. In the unlikely case of three persons receiving 2/3 of the vote, further discussion and voting will continue until the number of successful candidates has been reduced.
The names of zero, one or two candidates receiving at least 2/3 of the votes will be forwarded to the Directors of the SSA and, if approved by a 75% majority of Directors, to fifteen-plus-year and life members for approval.
The original nominator or other SSA member may re-nominate an unsuccessful candidate in following years if so desired. The Vetting Board, at its discretion, may consider a past unsuccessful candidate in later years but has no requirement to do so.
Possible Conflicts of Interest
In view of the high distinction and honor accorded upon an individual by induction into the Hall of Fame, it is of great importance that selection by the Vetting Board should not allow a nomination to be tainted by actual or apparent conflict of interest.
Accordingly, Members of the Vetting Board may submit nominations.
Any Vetting Board member related by blood or marriage to, or in a substantial business relationship with, a nominee will declare this relationship and take no part in the discussion or vote with respect to that nominee.
Achievements/contributions made as part of substantial, paid employment by a nominee will not be considered in evaluating the nomination.
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 soaring Hall of Fame:
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.
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:
Individual - Each of these persons made their contributions as individuals although they may have been involved with a team.
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.
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.
Note: These individuals are not just competition or record setting pilots for which they received much publicity. They all contributed extensively and continually to our sport on at least a national basis but often international as well -- soaring, administratively, continuing.
Nominations should be sent by 30 June to:
National Soaring Museum
51 Soaring Hill Drive
Elmira, NY 14903