Aviation

The Little Dirigible That Could—And Did

Sep 4, 2014

The Wright brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk in December 1903 was a private affair. But America’s first public powered flight wasn’t made by an airplane. In 1904, an unlikely pair of carnival showmen managed a flight that changed not only their lives, but altered aeronautical history.

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

John Patterson, Edward Deeds, and Wilbur and Orville Wright are just a few of the big names from a time when Dayton was a hotbed of innovation and invention. These famous names prompted a question from WYSO listener Susan Thornton:

“Why did Dayton produce so many inventors—for example, Charles Kettering, the Wright Brothers, the pop top can inventor?”

Dan Patterson Archival Collection

A hundred years ago, the world was racing headlong into war in Europe. Aviation was a new and untried tool for military leaders, and it soon became a powerful weapon.  In July of 1914, it had only been 10 years since the Wright brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk, and and aviation was flourishing around the world.

Barb Slone

Two Clark County businesses located at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport received a boost from the recent Barnstorming Carnival, an air show that was held on the site last weekend. Both companies hope the event generated more support for the airport.

Aviation enthusiasts in the Clark County area will get to have an air show of their own this weekend. The Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport and Airpark will be the site for the first-ever Barnstorming Carnival in the area.

Pilots from all over the country will fly their vintage planes mostly from the 1920s and 1930s to Springfield. Dewey Davenport organized the event. He says Barnstorming refers to that era when pilots would go from town to town, usually landing on a farm and then offer rides to people for money.

An Airplane Off the Shelf

Apr 18, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

Ever since the Wright brothers began selling airplanes, there’s always been a mystique about the airplane owner. Not everyone can or will buy one. Seventy years ago, one man tried to make buying an airplane as easy as buying a shirt.

Jerry Kenney

An effort to preserve the original Wright Brothers airplane factory got a boost Wednesday when Governor John Kasich signed the state’s 2014 capital budget. The historic site could become part of Dayton’s national aviation park system. 

Demolition has already started at the former Delphi plant on Home Avenue where the Wright Factory is located. The National Aviation Heritage Alliance hopes to purchase the historic buildings and 20 surrounding acres. A private developer owns the land now. 

Dan Patterson Archival Collection

Seventy years ago, the country was deep into World War Two, and the US was on the offensive in the air.  Commentator Dan Patterson says that the big US four engine bombers were being shot down in shocking numbers.

Think about this: on one mission, we lost sixty bombers.  That's six hundred men.  It was just too much.

The US needed a fighter plane with long pegs, one that could go all way deep into Germany and protect the bombers, essentially win the air war and provide the long sought after supremacy of the air.

Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA

Russia has our attention now, with the Sochi Winter Olympics about to open on February 7th. This got our aviation commentator Dan Patterson thinking about the vast country and how it is connected by flight. And Dan brings us back to the early days of aviation when the Russians were building and flying unique aircraft to shorten those distances.

 

Dan Patterson Collection

History is broken down into the moments we remember about our own lives, like weddings and birthdays and graduations, and then there are days when we pause to remember together, as a nation, an event that affected us all.

Pearl Harbor Day, just passed, when Japanese pilots attacked American navy ships north of Honolulu, is one of those, even though it's now more than 7 decades passed. Commentator Dan Patterson finds himself finds himself turning it over and over in his mind.

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