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.
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.
Orville Wright's Korona V Field Camera, photographed at Carillon Historical Park. The red air bulb is what Orville asked John T. Daniels to squeeze when the Flyer took off. He couldn't recall if he had or not in the excitement of the moment.
A newly discovered photograph calling into question the Wright Brothers claim to the “first in flight” title has created controversy this week between aviation experts. Some historians say German Immigrant Gustave Whitehead deserves the distinction. Dayton aviation photographer and historian Dan Patterson is WYSO’s aviation commentator. He discussed the issue in an interview with Emily McCord.