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 2022 Aviation Art Contest is "Design Your Perfect Aircraft". Art Contest Have you ever drawn a picture of an airplane, helicopter, or hot air balloon and added some extra details? Maybe, you started drawing a glider and ended up with a super-powered jet that could take you, your favorite pet, and your friends into space. Maybe you mixed and matched, combining the best features of different types of aircraft to create something unique. Every great aviation idea starts in the imagination of a person who wants to see something new in the sky. Drawing from aviation's past, these visionaries create aviation's future. Today's aircraft are the work of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people who turn ideas into aircraft that fly. Engineers put ideas onto paper. Manufacturers turn those drawings into real-life parts that get put together and become today's balloons, gliders, aerobatic planes, microlights, and helicopters. Each new version is improved for safety, aerodynamics, fuel efficiency, or a thousand other major and minor changes that put smiles on the faces of pilots and passengers alike. What is your perfect aircraft? What would power it through the sky? Would it be big or small? What special features would make pilots and passengers excited to be in the air? Every craft you see in the sky today started with similar questions. Each idea has the chance to change the way gliders soar, helicopters hover, and aerobatic racers twist and swoop through the sky. You might have an idea to change the way hang-gliders look as they sail through the air or improve the controls of today's modern cockpits. If you have ever looked up into the sky and thought, wouldn't it be great if…this art challenge is for you! Let your imagination soar and create a work of art that fits the theme, "Design your perfect aircraft." Grab your favorite pens, paints, or crayons and share your vision of the perfect aircraft. Your art today might become an inspiration for tomorrow's aviation reality.

Contest Information

This Year’s Deadline:

Entries must be postmarked by January 10, 2022, 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 “Design Your Perfect Aircraft”. 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, 2012 and December 31, 2015.
  • Group II – Intermediate Category
    • Date of birth between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011.
  • Group III – Senior Category
    • Date of birth between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2007.

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

2022 SD Aviation Art Contest Winners

The theme of the 2022 SD Aviation Art Contest was "Design Your Perfect Aircraft." There were submissions for the Contest from 11 schools. There were 33 submissions in the 6-9 year old group, 58 submissions in the 10-13 year old group, and 9 submissions in the 14-17 year old group – for a total of 100 submissions. The SDPA provided $300 for prizes for the winners, and advertised the contest in the Nov-Dec 2021 SDPA newsletter and on SDPA website.

Click here for winners. [PDF]