Friday, October 1, 2010

Follow Commemorative Wright Brothers Event in the Air and on Twitter; First Air Cargo Flight Re-enactment Planned

The public is invited to follow the Wright B Flyer as it takes off from Wright Patterson AFB and travels east to Columbus Ohio, replicating the world’s first air cargo flight.

The National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA), in partnership with the Wright B Flyer, Inc. will celebrate the 100th anniversary of air cargo on Saturday Oct. 2, with a commemorative flight that retraces the original route in a lookalike of the original airplane, a Wright Model B. In 1910, Phil Parmelee, a pilot working for the Wright brothers flew the world’s first cargo flight for a Columbus businessman, transporting 200 pounds of silk cloth to Max Morehouse’s dry goods store.

The commemorative flight will begin at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, which encompasses the Wright brothers’ Huffman Prairie Flying Field where the original flight began, and end at Rickenbacker Airport near Columbus, a modern air freight hub that provides Ohio businesses with national and international service. Wright B Flyer Inc’s lookalike is scheduled to depart promptly at 10 a.m. from Wright Patterson, heading east to Columbus.

Mitch Cary, President of Wright B Flyer Inc and the expected pilot of the upcoming flight noted the event is intended to celebrate the significant accomplishments of Phil Parmelee in addition the start of the air cargo business. “Phil Parmelee flew this historic flight with little experience and training having flown for the first time just two months prior to making the flight. He was responsible for a number of firsts and endurance flights in those early days of aviation. And unlike our planned flight, where we will have two pilots to share flying duties, Phil flew his flight alone” said Cary. “And while the temperature forecasted for our flight on Saturday is expected to produce a chilly ride for us, it will be several degrees warmer than it was for Phil, making his accomplishment even more significant.”

There will be two prime locations to see the plane. First, just after take-off at 10 a.m. at Huffman Prairie Flying Field, where the plane will circle the Field prior to heading east and at the Madison County airport located in London, Ohio where a midpoint refueling stop will be made by the pilots. It is expected the plane will land at Madison County at approximately 10:30 a.m. and depart for the final leg of the flight 30 minutes later. The plane is expected to land at Rickenbacker airport around 11:30 a.m.

It may also be possible for the plane to be seen in flight as it follows a route south of the Interstate 70 corridor. The pilots anticipate using US 40 and 42 as the principal landmarks on the ground to guide their journey to Columbus. To help find the plane as it flies to its destination, visitors can find the map of the flight on For those who are fans of Twitter, the Alliance plans to “tweet” landmark locations to help the public spot the plane in the air. That information will be found at The “hash tag” for those who follow Twitter is “#cargoflight”.

“This marks the first time the Alliance has incorporated the use of social media into one of our aviation heritage programs and we encourage the public to report on their observations of the flight via Twitter,” said Tim Gaffney, NAHA trustee and media relations coordinator for the flight.

Another aspect of how the commemorative flight connects to the 21st century is in the cargo being carried by the Wright B Flyer. In place of silk, the plane will transport ceramic fiber fabric, a composite panel and micro-Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV), all products that represent the work of the Air Force Research Laboratory, which is headquartered at Wright Patterson AFB.

The Wright B will be met at Rickenbacker by Wright and Parmelee family descendents. The cargo will be presented to Amanda Wright Lane, great grandniece of the Wright brothers and Philip McKeachie and his sister, Lecia Lamphere, grandnephew and grandniece of Phil Parmellee, the pilot of the 1910 flight. A private reception will follow, welcoming the pilots and ground crew of the Wright B Flyer, Inc.

Principal sponsor of the centennial flight is the Columbus Regional Airport Authority which oversees the operations of Port Columbus, Rickenbacker and Bolton Field airports delivering high-quality, cost-effective and coordinated aviation and logistics services for Central Ohio. Lane Aviation, also a sponsor, provides charter services, fueling, hangaring, sales, and maintenance for general aviation aircraft at both Rickenbacker and Port Columbus.

The National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) is a private, not for profit corporation operating as the management entity of the Congressionally designated National Aviation Heritage Area, one of 49 national heritage areas in the United States. NAHA’s vision is for Dayton to become the recognized global center of aviation heritage and premier destination for aviation heritage tourism, sustaining the legacy of the Wright brothers. The National Aviation Heritage Area encompasses an eight county area (Montgomery, Greene, Miami, Clark, Warren, Champaign, Shelby, and Auglaize counties.)

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