Hallowed skies blanket Dayton, Ohio, a city once known as the “Cradle of Aviation”—and with good reason. It was in Dayton that two brothers became the unlikely creators of the world’s first airplane, but that is just the start of the story. Dayton Aviation: The Wright Brothers to McCook Field examines Dayton’s civil and military aviation history from its start with the Wright Brothers to the founding of Wright and Patterson Fields in the 1930s, a period that saw the construction of the world’s first airport, the Huffman Flying Prairie. Dayton was home to the first airplane factory and, later, the world’s largest aircraft factory. The city introduced the world to crop dusting, landing lights, free-fall parachutes, pressurized cabins, night aerial photography, the first private-cabin plane, and the first strategic bomber. In downtown Dayton, office workers could look out windows and watch history unfold as pilots broke one world record after another in the skies over the city. Dayton was, and still is, the airplane capital of the world. These images, captured by the founding fathers of aviation, show that from 1904 through the 1930s, if it was happening in the air, it was happening in Dayton.
Author Bio: Kenneth M. Keisel is an aviation historian living in Columbus, Ohio. He is also author of Images of Aviation: US Naval Air Station Grosse Ile.
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