Dan Patterson

Aviation Commentator
courtesy of Museum of Flight in Seattle, WA, USA

Earlier this summer, a pilot named Charlie Schwenker and a wing-walker named Jane Wicker were killed at the Vectren Air Show in Dayton, a tragedy in the midst of an event laden with history. Air Shows as public events began more than 100 years ago. WYSO's aviation commentator Dan Patterson loves that colorful history full of spectacle and heroism.

Dan Patterson

Tomorrow is the 6th of June. Sixty-nine years ago, the allied forces at war with Hitler’s Germany invaded northern France in what will always be known as D-Day. On that morning in 1944, when Ohioans woke up, the battle in Europe had already been going on for hours. The airborne troops were the first ones to enter the conflict. One local paratroop veteran of that battled died recently, but told his story to our aviation commentator Dan Patterson.

Dan Patterson

Seventy years ago this week American aviators were at war in Europe. In airplanes known as the B-17 Flying Fortress they were flying bombing missions over Germany. One of those planes, nicknamed “The Memphis Belle” flew its 25th combat mission on May 17th, 1943, and then came home to the US with its crew. One of the Memphis Belle’s first stops was Wright Field in Dayton, where today she’s being restored at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

Dan Patterson

Aviation commentator Dan Patterson has a different kind of story this week, not about a famous date in history - but instead about the connection between flight and time. You can always spot a pilot, he says,  by his or her outsized wristwatch. It's a relationship that goes back to the earliest flights.

Thomas Griffin died in late February - he was one of 80 American servicemen who flew a legendary mission in World War Two.    They were known as Doolittle's Raiders.    Griffin lived in Cincinnati and he
was 96 years old.  Now only four members of that elite group survive.

WYSO aviation commentator Dan Patterson knew Griffin and tells us his story.

Presidential Aviating

Jan 21, 2013

Presidents and flight had a quiet start in the summer of 1909, when Orville returned to Ft. Myer to complete the Army trials that ended abruptly with his crash in September of the previous year.  The Army allowed the Wrights to return as they had already more than fulfilled the contract.  This time there were many observers, including fellow Ohioan President Williams Howard Taft.  A tent was set up, and he sat with the Wrights' sister Katharine.

courtesy of Wright State University Archives and Special Collections

Today is perhaps the most important date in aviation history.  It was 10:35 in the morning on December 17, 1903, when Orville Wright flew a powered aircraft  on the sands near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  It was a short  flight - with huge consequences. Dayton aviation historian and photographer Dan Patterson knows the story well.

courtesy of wright-brothers.org

On this day in 1909, a company was incorporated that would eventually build the first airplane factory in Dayton Ohio. It was called the Wright Company. Local aviation photographer and historian Dan Patterson tells us the story.

Last time we spoke, I described the momentous flight Wilbur Wright made in new York City in 1909 when a million New Yorkers saw an aeroplane for the first time.

The National Air & Space Museum

Last year, Governor Kasich proclaimed October fifth Wright Brothers Day in Ohio. On that day, in 1905, Wilbur Wright flew the Wright Flyer for nearly 40 minutes at Huffman Prairie. It was proof that flight was practical.

In the summer of 1908, Wilbur Wright astonished the world, demonstrating the Wright Flyer in France.  No one had ever flown as long and with such control.  The world took notice.

Back here in the states, that same summer, Orville Wright was making demonstration flights, too, for the US Army's Signal Corps, trying to get a contract to sell planes to the US government.  Dayton aviation historian and photographer Dan Patterson tells the story.

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