Sunday, October 3, 2010

Celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the World’s First Air Cargo a Complete Success; Wright B Flyer Completes Commemorative Flight From Dayton to Columbus Ohio

DAYTON, Ohio, Oct. 2, 2010 – Officials from the National Aviation Heritage Alliance and the Wright B Flyer Inc. enjoyed a successful event when the Wright brothers lookalike touched down at Rickenbacker Airport at noon on Saturday, October 2nd 2010 right on schedule.

The flight marked 100 years since the first flight took place in 1910 when the Wright brothers-built airplane piloted by a young, but skillful, aviator Philip O. Parmelee delivered a cargo of silk cloth to a Columbus merchant, Max Morehouse.
Columbus skyline looms ahead as the Wright “B” Flyer nears its destination, Rickenbacker International Airport. Photo Credit: Timothy R. Gaffney

The descendents of both families were at the gate waiting for the Wright B Flyer and its crew, Mitch Cary and Rich Stepler. The pilots had started their journey at Wright Patterson AFB Ohio circling the hallowed testing ground for the Wright brothers at Huffman Prairie prior to heading east to Madison County Airport and then into Rickenbacker.

“We were a little chilly but overall had good weather, good tailwinds and made great time into our mid-point stop,” said pilot Cary. The Wright B Flyer was met at that airport by a crowd of aviation enthusiasts. They were treated to a close-up look of the aircraft and a chance to talk to the pilots.

Shortly before 11:30 a.m. the pilots took off for their final destination in Columbus. Just as they had done at their starting point, the pilots circled Rickenbacker Airport prior to landing and taxing to the gate.

There the crew unloaded the cargo they had carried on the flight, which included items that represent the aerospace industry of the 21st century. While Parmelee carried silk cloth in 1910, today’s flight brought a different type of material, ceramic composite cloth along with three, concept micro-unmanned air vehicles (UAVs).

David Whitaker, representing one of the flight’s sponsors, Columbus Regional Airport Authority told the crowd “ Rickenbacker Airport is a modern air hub in an industry that owes its start to the genius of the Wrights and the skilled flying of Parmelee.”

A round of applause by the crowd greeted the pilots as they entered the terminal and presented the cargo to Wright family members, Amanda Wright Lane, her brother Steve Wright and Parmelee family members Lecia Lamphere and her brother Philip McKeachie.

Wright “B” Flyer pilots Mitch Cary and Richard Stepler fly over the countryside near Yellow Springs as they from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to Madison County Airport in the re-enactment of the first cargo flight. Photo Credit: Timothy R. Gaffney
“It was a moving experience to see the plane come to the gate as it gave me and my family a real appreciation what Uncle Phil had done a hundred years ago,” said Lamphere. Tony Perfilio, chair of the National Aviation Heritage Alliance recognized the significant contributions of the Wright B ground crew and sponsors Lane Aviation and Rickenbacker Airport.

Closing the ceremony was Joe Sciabica, Executive Director of the Unites States Air Force Research Lab. Sciabica’s organization had provided the cargo for today’s flight. “The Wright’s were great scientists, they understood the challenges they faced and they weren’t afraid of failure and on that they built their success. Today, we continue that same great tradition in Ohio and only our dreams limit what we can achieve in flight in the next 100 years.”

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