WYSO

Dan Patterson

Aviation Commentator

Dan Patterson is an aviation historian and photographer. You can see more of his photos at his website, www.flyinghistory.com

Model airplanes helped sparked a lifelong love of aviation for Dan Patterson.
Dan Patterson

WYSO’s aviation commentator Dan Patterson has had some time on his hands lately like many of us. And he’s used the extra hours of isolation to return to a childhood hobby – the one that got him interested in aviation in the first place.

 

Aeronca Champ airplane
wikimedia commons

The basics of flying are a time tested routine that goes back to the Wright brothers. Aviation commentator Dan Patterson has some thoughts about that and his instructor.

My first flight instructor, Dr. Dick Garrison, died at the end of July. He was also a lifelong friend who I have known since Kindergarten, now 60 years ago.  We shared a love of aviation our entire lives.  At Colonel White High School, one of the teachers, Mr. Kistner formed a flight club that met after school. He also took us flying, and the die was cast.

Barbed wire a century old, on the battlefield at Verdun, France
Dan Patterson

World War I ended 100 years ago. It was called The Great War and the War to end all Wars, and the centuries long way of fighting on the ground changed to airplanes. 

Dawn takeoff.  Scene from forthcoming film, The Lafayette Escadrille, A feature length documentary.
Dan Patterson

15 years after the Wright brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk, airplanes were weapons.  The 12 horsepower motor and the frailties of the first airplane gave way to powerful engines. We tend to think of WWI as soldiers stuck in muddy trenches, but there was also fierce fighting in the sky. WWI airplanes flew much faster than early aircraft and soon were armed with guns and bombs.

Flying warfare began with slow and basic airplanes sent up to see what the enemy was doing beyond the horizon. Pilots came close to enemy airplanes and even shot at each other with pistols, wild west style.

B-17F Memphis Belle over Europe
Dan Patterson Archival Collection

On May 17, the National Museum of the United States Air Force opens an exhibit about the Memphis Belle, a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress.  The exhibit tells the story of the Memphis Belle and her crew, one of the first American bombers to survive 25 missions, at a time when surviving 10 missions was considered lucky.  Aviation commentator Dan Patterso has a few thoughts.

Wrecked aircraft flown by Richtofen April 21, 1918
Dan Patterson Archival Collection

100 years ago this month, an aerial battle took place which has passed into legend. The story of two pilots whose flight paths literally crossed over the battlefield, Canadian Arthur Roy Brown and Manfred von Richtofen, the Red Knight of Germany.  Aviation commentator Dan Patterson has the story.

This is the story of Manfred and Roy, two pilots from different backgrounds.  One was the son of an elite German military family; the other was a middle class young man who enlisted when the British Empire went to war.

TWA's City of Dayton airplane
Dan Patterson Archives

Over the weekend the Dayton International Airport celebrated its 80th anniversary.  When it opened, it was called Dayton Municipal Airport. And opening day coincided with the anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first fight at Kittyhawk, North Carolina.  It was 1936 – aviation was a burgeoning industry in the US.  Aviation commentator Dan Patterson has the story.

John Glenn on December 17, 1998, in Dayton for the 95th anniversary of the Wright’s first flight.
Dan Patterson

The public will be able to pay tribute to the late John Glenn on Friday when the former astronaut and Senator lies in state at the Ohio capitol.  WYSO's Aviation Commentator Dan Patterson has this reflection on Glenn's legendary career.

In April, there was a ceremony at the Lafayette Escadrille and Flying Corps monument in France to mark the original Escadrille’s centennial
Dan Patterson

WYSO Aviation commentators Dan Patterson and Paul Glenshaw traveled to France in April to witness a significant moment in aviation history. Today they bring us the story of a milestone of American aviation—the loss of the first American pilot in combat.

One hundred years ago, on June 23, 1916, a young flyer named Victor Chapman took off on his last flight.

Muhammed Ali in the locker room beneath Welcome Stadium, June 25, 1971
Dan Patterson

Memorial services will be held Friday in Louisville Kentucky for Muhammad Ali.  Local photographer Dan Patterson has fond memories of Ali. 

In 1971, I spent three days with The Champ.  He was is town twice that year, once be on the Phil Donahue show, still being produced at TV 2, and once to do an exhibition training fight as he prepared for another heavyweight fight with Joe Frazer.  

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