WYSO

Aviation

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.

The 'Movie Memphis Belle' appearing this week at Grimes Field airbase in Urbana, Ohio.
Jerry Kenney / WYSO

An assortment of WWII-era planes took to the skies above Dayton Wednesday, as the National Museum of the United States Air Force unveiled its latest exhibit. The show includes the restored B-17 bomber called The Memphis Belle. The infamous plane was the first to complete 25 missions over Europe during the Second World War. The plane and its missions were the subject of a documentary, and a feature film.

The renovated B-17 used in the 1990 film the movie, also called Memphis Belle, was part of the early morning flyover above the museum.

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.

Dewey Davenport is a pilot with a passion for history
Renee Wilde / WYSO

Out in the countryside east of Dayton, one local pilot is using his passion to keeping a part of aviation history alive. Community Voices reporter Renee Wilde chased him down and went on the ride of her life.

I’m speeding in my car down country roads, chasing after a small plane that’s been buzzing the tree tops of my farm. I follow it to a small, grassy strip tucked amid fields of ripening corn and soybeans, and watch the red bi-plane taxi down the runway and come to a stop.

Char Daston / WYSO

Have you ever noticed the blue helicopters in the sky above the Miami Valley? Those are CareFlights, air ambulances from the Miami Valley Hospital. Rocky Blazer, a listener from Springfield, says they seem to fly out a lot, and asked why the hospital would decide to send out a CareFlight, rather than a traditional ambulance. I drove down to the hospital’s central campus in Dayton to investigate.

On the helipad

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.

Dayton Air Show

The Blue Angels will be absent from this year’s Dayton Air Show. The fan favorites have decided not to perform at several air shows, including Dayton's, after last week’s tragic crash in Tennessee—losing one of their own—Marine Captain Jeff Kuss, also known as Blue Angel #6.

Roger Doctor is the Public Safety Director for the Dayton Air Show. He says the flying unit needs time before performing again.

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