Dayton is the birthplace of aviation.
Dayton was once home to powered flight inventors Wilbur and Orville Wright. This is where they lived and developed the airplane, in their west side cycle shop in 1903. Later, they perfected their airplane on the testing grounds of Huffman Prairie Flying Field , just east of Dayton. Today, the original 1905 Flyer is on display at Carillon Historical Park . The Wright brothers also owned and operated an airplane factory and ran the world’s first flight school.
Not only is Dayton the birthplace of aviation, but in 2004, the city was also recognized as the National Aviation Heritage Area (NAHA), in honor of its vibrant aviation history and leadership. The airplane was created here, but Dayton is also home to the first military airfield, the first emergency parachute jump, WACO’s dominance of civilian aircraft production between the World Wars, and so much more. Dayton is truly synonymous with aviation.
The National Aviation Heritage Area (NAHA) consists of the National Museum of the United States Air Force – which is the state’s most visited free tourist attraction – the National Aviation Hall of Fame , the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park (which includes four sites: Carillon Historical Park , Huffman Prairie Flying Field and Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center , Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center and the Paul Laurence Dunbar State Memorial), The Wright B Flyer, Grimes Flying Lab Foundation, Armstrong Air & Space Museum, Historic WACO Field, and the organization member, Aviation Trail, Inc.
Dayton is also home to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, one of the largest, most diverse and organizationally complex Air Force installations.
If you’re interested in the history of aviation, Dayton is truly the place to be. There are PLENTY of aviation activities to keep you busy for a full day, or even a week! Check out our Aviation Buff Sample Itinerary to find out more!