Thursday, July 13, 2017

Dayton is All About Aviation

July 6, 2017

Dayton, Ohio is a great city with a lot to discover. We stopped in to explore the city's aviation history. There is lot to see!

Fred booked us in to the Famcamp at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, near the the National Museum of the United States Air Force.  Seeing all of those planes on display was one of our must see objectives. 
It became our first stop when we headed out to explore the next morning. It was pouring rain as we entered the building so we  the outdoor displays or Memorial Park to see later.
CaQuot type R Observation Balloon
The Air Force Museum has an interesting layout. The lobby has a theater to the left where a series of 3D films rotates through a schedule with a new title starting every hour. We chose to watch D Day: Normandy 1944. The film was very well done and narrated by Tom Brokaw , whose voice is very easy to listen to.
To the right of the lobby there is a very large gift shop that you must pass through in order to get to the main exhibits.
The exhibits are arranged in chronological order beginning with the Early Years Gallery. This area tells the story of the Wright Brothers and their development of the airplane. Exhibits chronicle their frustration in getting the military here in the US and abroad to value what the Wright Flyer could do in warfare. 
McCook Field Wind Tunnel used by the Wright Brothers
The brothers McCook Field Wind Tunnel is here. It allowed them to make precise measurements of minute changes on a small scale before committing to them in flight.

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You have to look every where in the Early Years gallery. There are planes hanging from the ceiling as well as displays on the ground.

I got a chuckle out of this poster of pilot symbols. Do you think that one of these fellows might have had an encounter with the mothman?

There are a number of photographs that depict early flying schools and an interesting display of a pilot who didn't land so well.
The early years was my favorite of all the galleries representing flyers and flying machines through WWI. The courage that it took for these men to take to the air after some rudimentary instruction astounds me.
The WWII gallery began with a tribute to Bob Hope titled Thanks for the Memories. It is a touching tribute to the man that spent his Holidays entertaining the troops for over 50 years.
The gallery ends with Prejudice and Memory: a Holocaust Exhibit.
In between is an amazing collection of WWII era planes that tell a story about the Army Air Force and their accomplishments in both European and Pacific campaigns.

The galleries follow a timeline. Korea, Southeast Asia and the Cold War era are all represented.

The newest gallery contains missiles and Space exhibits.

It is entirely too much to absorb in one day.

July 7, 2017

2 sightseeing days for Dayton was not enough. Friday morning we made an early start to see as many of the cities Aviation Heritage sites as we could.

The National Historic Park was our first stop. 
The Interpretive Center is built next to and incorporates the Wright Cycle Shop. There is a Parachute Museum on the second floor.
There are exhibits of the early years impressing us with the precise measurements, scientific trials and detailed records that the Wright Brothers used. Neither had any engineering background and only one of the brothers had graduated High School.
I have always associated the Wright Brothers with Kittyhawk and Kill Devil Hills. Turns out that was the flashy part of their accomplishments. 
Dayton is where the real work was done.

The Wright Cycle Co occupies the first floor of the building. It is set up as it might have been in the years that the Wright first started to work on the puzzle of manned flight.

Bicycle racks at the Wright Cycle Co
The Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Site houses the original 1905 Wright Flyer III. It was restored under the supervision of Orville Wright and today sits in a climate controlled room in the park. There is a raised platform around the plane so that you can walk all around it and view it from many angles.

The original 1905 Wright Flyer the first commercial aircraft
The National Historic Site is inside of Carillon Historic Park, a 65 acre park that showcases the history of Dayton and the accomplishments of its residents.

We walked the park, admired the flyer and listened to the carillon before heading back to base.

We did take the time to make one more stop to see the historic marker that sits on the site of the first NFL Football game.
That brought a smile to Fred's face.

National Museum of the United States Air Force
1100 Spaatz St
Dayton, Ohio

Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center and Wright Cycle Co
16 South Williams St
Dayton, Ohio

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park
1000 Carillon Blvd
Dayton, Ohio

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