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.
The anniversary of powered flight is going to be commemorated in the Wright brothers' hometown.
The Dayton Daily News reports that the 109th anniversary of flight will be recognized in a wreath-laying ceremony Monday morning on Wright Memorial Hill in Dayton.
Air Force Lt. Col. Eric Piel, a C-5 and C-17 cargo jet pilot, will speak at the event. Amanda Lane Wright, a great grandniece of the Wright brothers, and Col. Cassie Barlow, Wright-Patterson 88th Air Base Wing commander, will participate in the wreath laying.
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.