Observation to mark 117th anniversary of Wright brothers’ flight

Amanda Wright Lane, the great grandniece of Wilbur and Orville Wright, stands in front of Wright Brother's Memorial at Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center. The year 2020 will mark the Wright brothers' 117th  anniversary of powered flight.

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Amanda Wright Lane, the great grandniece of Wilbur and Orville Wright, stands in front of Wright Brother's Memorial at Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center. The year 2020 will mark the Wright brothers' 117th anniversary of powered flight.

Small, closed ceremony to be seen virtually

Col. Patrick Miller, 88th Air Base Wing and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base commander, along with members of the Wright brothers’ family and a limited number of Dayton Aviation Heritage National Park representatives, are scheduled to join together Dec. 17 at 10:10 a.m. to lay a wreath commemorating the 117th anniversary of practical powered flight.

The event, which has become an annual tradition in the Miami Valley since it was first celebrated in 1978 for the 75th anniversary, will take place at the Wright Brothers Memorial on top of Wright Brothers Memorial Hill overlooking Huffman Prairie.

The event’s keynote speaker will be Brig. Gen. John Newberry, program executive officer for the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Bombers Directorate.

A B-1B Lancer bomber aircraft based at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, is scheduled to fly over during the ceremony at 10:35 a.m., the exact time the first Wright Flyer took to the air over the dunes of Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. The two pilots set to make the flight, call signs Wasp and Flex, are Ohio natives who have expressed their pride and honor in being able to take part, according to Steve Byington, 88th Civil Engineer Group cultural resources manager.

“We are excited to commemorate the anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first powered flight and celebrate the courageous vision and pioneering spirit that drove them to perfect the fundamentals of controlled aviation right here at Huffman Prairie. Their legacy of innovation and advancement carries all the way down to the United States Air Force of today,” he said.

Because of COVID-19 protocols limiting gathering sizes, the general public is encouraged to view the event online at https://www.facebook.com/WPAFB.

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