South Dakota Pilots Association

South Dakota Aviation Art Contest

The SD Office of Air, Rail & Transit and South Dakota Pilots Association are sponsors of the annual South Dakota Aviation Art Contest for children aged 6 to 17. The contest has been held in South Dakota in past years, but has not been widely publicized in the past. Soooooo, tell your kids, your grandkids, your neighbor kids, and school teachers!!

Each year a different theme is selected for the Art Contest. More information about the contest can be found at the SD Office of Air, Rail & Transit website: This website also has images of the top three South Dakota winners in each age category for past years.


The theme of the 2023 Aviation Art Contest is "Air Sports & The Environment". Art Contest The sense of liberty that pilots and skydivers feel when flying through the skies often comes hand-in-hand with a deep appreciation of the blue and green planet below. The beauty and fragility of our earth is simply more evident when viewed from above. Aviation has always been at the forefront of technology and over the generations, those involved in aeronautics have felt an ever-increasing pressure to protect our planet. Aviators, now and in the future, have a responsibility to push forward the limits of human innovation and imagination to harness cleaner energy and minimize the impact of air sports on the earth and its atmosphere. By letting your imagination fly, we want you, as a young artist, to explore the ways that air sports can interact harmoniously with our environment. Ask yourself, how can air sports help inspire others to protect our earth? Can you envisage how innovation and technology can use greener fuels to power aircraft? Can the natural wonders of the earth inspire the aviation of the future? How could aviation be involved in reducing, reusing and recycling? Artists often take the lead in imagining a brighter future. It’s time to take your favorite art materials and try to conjure up a vision of how air sports of the future can help to keep our planet safe for the generations to come.

Contest Information

This Year’s Deadline:

Entries must be postmarked by January 10, 2023, and must be sent to the SD Office of Air, Rail & Transit (700 East Broadway Avenue, Pierre, SD 57501-2586).

This Year’s Theme:

This year’s theme is “Air Sports & The Environment”. Artwork will be judged, at least in part, for its creative use of this year’s theme in relation to the aviation world.


All children in the age groups shown below are encouraged to participate in the Contest, even if they are related to officials or employees of the FAI or any of its member organizations including the SD Office of Air, Rail & Transit.

Age Groups:

Entries will be judged in three classes:

  • Group I – Junior Category
    • Date of birth between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2016.
  • Group II – Intermediate Category
    • Date of birth between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2012.
  • Group III – Senior Category
    • Date of birth between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2008.

State Awards:

Entries in each age group will be judged and state winners and runners-up will be selected by staff in the SD Office of Air, Rail & Transit. Winners will receive a first, second, or third place certificate and recognition from the SD Office of Air, Rail & Transit. The SD Office of Air, Rail & Transit and the SDPA also give winners either art supplies, or aviation-related items such as model rockets or model airplanes (Legos kits that can be made into airplanes for the younger kids). The top three winners in each age category will be published in the SDPA newsletter & SDPA website and presented on the SD Office of Air, Rail & Transit website. The top three entries in each age group from South Dakota will be forwarded to the National Contest, to participate in the national competition.

National Awards:

A first, second, and third place national winner will be selected from each age group from state submissions. Only art works submitted from the State level will be eligible for the National Contest. Please do not submit art directly to NASAO. All national winners will receive a certificate, ribbon, and a framed reproduction of their artwork.

International Awards:

The first, second, and third place national winners in each age group will be forwarded to FAI (Federation Aeronautique Internationale) headquarters for international judging. Winners of the international competition will receive certificates and gold, silver, or bronze medals.

Contest Rules

Artwork Dimensions:

Artwork size should be 11x17 inches (Ledger/Tabloid), 8.5x11 inches entries are NOT eligible. Artwork must NOT be framed, or outlined with borders.


All artwork must be done by hand (or, in the case of physically challenged children, by foot or mouth). Any of the following media are permitted: acrylic, oil paints, watercolor, indelible markers, felt-tip pens, soft ball-point pens, indelible ink, Crayola, or any similar indelible medium. The following media are NOT permitted: nonpermanent medium such as pencil or charcoal; computer-generated artwork; collage work involving the use of photocopies.


The following information should be clearly shown on the back of the art: first and last name, mailing address, date of birth, name and address of child's school, and certificate of authenticity. This certificate is part of the Contest Brochure. There is no need for a title on the poster and entrants can decide for themselves whether or not to include one. However, there should be a clearly recognizable link to the theme of the contest.

Reproduction Rights:

Once received, entries will become and remain the property of the Fédération Aeronautique Internationale or SD Office of Air, Rail & Transit and may be used for a variety of purposes.


The SD Aviation Art Contest is sponsored by the South Dakota Department of Transportation and the South Dakota Pilots Association. For more information and a copy of the official brochure containing the Certificate of Authenticity, contact Nancy Hiller at the SD Office of Air, Rail & Transit, Pierre, SD (phone 605-773-4430 or email

2023 SD Aviation Art Contest Winners

The theme of the 2023 SD Aviation Art Contest was "Air Sports & The Environment." There were 29 submissions for the Contest from 11 schools. The SDPA provided $600 for prizes for the winners, and advertised the contest in the Nov-Dec 2022 and Jan-Feb 2023 SDPA newsletters.

Click here for winners. [PDF]