Road Trip: Aviation history in Ohio
It wasn't until a decade ago that Congress settled a longstanding dispute between Ohio and North Carolina: Congress affirmed that Ohio, indeed, is the nation's birthplace of aviation.
Though aviation-themed attractions pepper the Buckeye State, the House resolution specifically recognized Dayton, some 256 miles west of Pittsburgh, as the birthplace. Although Wilbur and Orville Wright took their test flight in 1903 at North Carolina's Outer Banks, on a hill called Kitty Hawk, Dayton is the Wright brothers' hometown. They made their flight plans in Dayton, and constructed the plane in their bicycle shop there. The city contains 14 aviation attractions and sites.
According to NASA, 25 astronauts in American history — including Neil Armstrong and James A. Lovell Jr. — came from Ohio.
With all of these flight connections, it's no wonder that so many aviation-theme attractions are just a few hours away from the western border of Pennsylvania by car. For a full list of the aviation sites throughout Ohio, visit consumer.discoverohio.com
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7824.
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
While you're by the Air Force base, visit the National Museum of the United States Air Force, said to be the oldest and largest military-aviation museum in the world. The museum includes more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles, presidential aircraft and a B-2 Stealth Bomber exhibit. Next year, a new, 200,000-square-foot building will house three new galleries, including the Space Gallery.
Details: 937-255-3286 or www.nationalmuseum.af.mil
Also, check out the National Aviation Hall of Fame, where you'll learn about the many larger-than-life figures from air travel history, including space exploration. Figures include the Wright brothers, of course, along with Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh and astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong.
Details: 888-383-1903 or www.nationalaviation.org
Carillon Historical Park
You can continue your Wright-themed journey at Carillon Historical Park in Dayton, which includes 30 historic buildings among a 65-acre campus just south of downtown Dayton. One of the artifacts there is the 1905 Wright Flyer III, which is the world's first practical airplane. Also at the park is Hawthorn Hill, Orville Wright's home and a National Historic Landmark, which still has original furnishings and his study.
Details: 937-392-2841 or www.daytonhistory.org
Tri-State Warbird Museum
South of Dayton, in the greater Cincinnati area, visit the Tri-State Warbird Museum in Batavia. Here, you'll learn about aviation history by exploring restored and fully operational vintage aircraft, many used in war battles. The museum also includes exhibits such as a replica of World War II barracks used by members of the 353rd Fighter Group of the Eighth Air Force while stationed in England.
Details: 513-735-4500 or www.tri-statewarbirdmuseum.org
International Women's Air & Space Museum
Closer to Pittsburgh, in Cleveland, is the International Women's Air & Space Museum, which focuses on the roles females have played in aviation. You can learn about prominent women pilots and other aerospace workers, like Amelia Earhart, Jackie Cochran and the WASPs — Women Airforce Service Pilots On display are artifacts including the “Pretty Purple Puddy Tat,” a Smith mini-plane built and flown by Tracy Pilurs.
Details: 216-623-1111 or www.iwasm.org
In Dayton, you might start out with the Aviation Trail, a driving tour that will take you to several stops with flight-theme attractions in or near Dayton.
On the trail, you can make stops at places including the Wright Cycle Co., where it all started, and the Wright Memorial — erected in 1940, and re-dedicated in 1998 after a reconstruction. The memorial, located at Dayton's Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, honors the flight pioneers and overlooks the Huffman Prairie Flying Field, where the Wright brothers conducted tests of their early airplanes. Many of the world's first pilots were trained at this field, where you can see a replica of the 1905 airplane hangar and a replica catapult system.
The WACO Air Museum and Aviation Learning Center, in nearby Troy, tells the story of the WACO Aircraft Co., a major manufacturer of civilian airplanes in the 1920s and '30s.
Another site along the drive is the Aviation Trail Parachute Museum, which displays the collection of David Gold, who designed, sold and serviced parachutes. The Parachute Museum is at the Aviation Trail Visitor Center & Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center.
To download an Aviation Trail brochure, visit www.aviationtrailinc.org
Some sites on the aviation trail are part of Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, which is a collaboration between the National Park Service and the region's most valuable historic sites.
Details: 937-225-7705 or www.nps.org/daav
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.