Explore Aviation History in Dayton, OH

Biplane flying in sunset

As if being the home of the Wright Brothers wasn’t enough to earn Dayton, OH a spot in aviation history, Dayton housed the first aircraft factory, first parachute, and the creation of spy technology used in World War II. Learn more about the aviation history of Dayton Chicago with Mercedes-Benz of Centerville!

The First Aircraft Factory

Established in 1910 by The Wright Company, Dayton houses the oldest still-standing aircraft factories in the United States.

The First Cargo Flight

In 1910, the Wright Brothers hired Philip Parmelee to pilot the first airplane to deliver cargo from Dayton to Columbus. Parmelee flew a Wright-B Flyer from Huffman Prairie to Rickenbacker Field carrying over 200 lbs of silk to fulfill a department store order. To protect himself from near zero-degree temperatures, Parmlee had to bundle himself like a mummy.

The First Parachute Test

Designed by Floyd Smith and Guy Ball, the first free-fall parachute which was tested on April 28, 1919. This marked the first successful army test jump, and was conducted at McCook Field.

The First Aerial Mapping Unit

George Goddard, a pilot at McCook Field, had the foresight to see the potential of using planes to take photographs during war. Starting in 1921, Goddard used this tech to map cities and cover warship bombings. Still, it wasn’t until 1927, when Goddard moved to Wright Field, that he created the specialized cameras used in aerial reconnaissance in World War II.

Wright brothers and colleagues at Kitty Hawk camp, 1901

Wright brothers and colleagues at Kitty Hawk camp, 1901

Protecting the County

With origins going back to McCook Field, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center gathers intelligence on countries’ aerospace technology to guide weapons development and determine threats. A group from the National Air and Space Intelligence Center also brought home the MiG-25 Foxbat in 2003. This Russian interceptor was dug up from the Iraq desert and delivered to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for analysis.

Uncover Ohio’s History With Mercedes-Benz of Centerville

To learn more cool Ohio history, visit the Miamisburg Mounds. Ancient burial grounds not your thing? Spend a day in Cincinnati exploring a wide array of museums. Interested in learning more about Ohio’s past? Contact us to find out more Ohio history!