Dayton is noted for its association with aviation, as the hometown of Orville and Wilbur Wright and powered flight and as home to the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
Here are five area places that are most important to the history of flight.
1. The Wright Cycle Company: 16 South Williams Street, Dayton
This building is one of only two original Wright brothers buildings still standing at their original locations in the West Side neighborhood where the Wrights lived, worked and invented the airplane.
The Wright brothers occupied the building from 1895 to 1897, manufacturing bicycles on the first floor and operating a printing business on the second floor, while taking their first steps toward inventing the airplane, their Flyer I, in 1903. The National Park Service acquired The Wright Cycle Company after the Dayton Aviation Heritage Historical Park was created in 1992.
2. Huffman Prairie Flying Field: Gate 16A off Route 444, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
After their historic first flights at Kitty Hawk, N.C., on Dec. 17, 1903, the Wright brothers continued the development of their invention at the Huffman Prairie Field in 1904 and 1905. Later, The Wright Company operated a flying school there, from 1910 to 1916.
Today, the field remains much as it was when the Wrights flew their experimental airplanes over Torrance Huffman’s pasture. Attractions include a replica of the Wrights’ 1905 hangar, a replica of the catapult system they used to launch their early airplanes and interpretive signs erected by the National Park Service.
3. Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport: 10550 Springboro Pike (Rt. 741), Miamisburg
The Wright “B” Flyer, located at the Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport, is a flyable look-alike of the world’s first mass-produced airplane, manufactured in The Wright Company factory in Dayton from 1910 to 1911. The replica was built by a group of local aviation enthusiasts, and the airplane is housed in a hangar that is similar to the Wright brothers’ 1910 hangar at Huffman Prairie Flying Field.
4. Wright Brothers Aviation Center at Carillon Historical Park: 1000 Carillon Historical Park, Dayton
Among the attractions at the 65-acre Carillon park is the original 1905 Wright Flyer III, the world's first practical airplane. The Flyer III, housed in Wright Hall, was restored under the personal direction of Orville Wright. Wright Hall is flanked by the Wilbur and Orville Wright wings and is connected to a replica of the bicycle shop in which the Wright brothers built their 1903 airplane. The buildings are a part of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Park.
5. Historical WACO Field and WACO Airplane Museum: 1865 S. County Road 25A, Troy, Ohio
The WACO airfield is a working airfield similar to that of the grass airfields of the 1930s and 1940s, the approximate era during which the airplanes built at the WACO factory in Troy dominated the civilian airplane market. The WACO Airplane Museum includes aircraft, artifacts, historic photographs and other exhibits related to the WACO Aircraft Company and the aircraft it produced.
The airfield buildings also house a Learning Center, vintage aircraft restoration area, reference library and gift shop, and one section of the field is available for radio-controlled model airplane flying throughout the year.
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