Wilbur Wright Field

Wilbur Wright Field was a military installation and an airfield used as a World War I pilot, mechanic, and armorer training facility and, under different designations, conducted United States Army Air Corps and Air Forces flight testing. Located near Riverside, Ohio, the site is officially "Area B" of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and includes the National Museum of the United States Air Force built on the airfield.

Wilbur Wright Field
Riverside, Ohio
Wright Field 1920
Wilbur Wright Field, circa 1920
Wilbur Wright Field is located in Ohio
Wilbur Wright Field
Wilbur Wright Field
Coordinates39°46′46″N 84°6′16″W / 39.77944°N 84.10444°WCoordinates: 39°46′46″N 84°6′16″W / 39.77944°N 84.10444°W
TypePilot training airfield
Site information
Controlled byUS Army Air Roundel.svg  Air Service, United States Army
US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg  United States Army Air Forces
ConditionNational Museum of the United States Air Force
Site history
In use1917–1951
World War I War Service Streamer without inscription

World War I
Streamer WWII V

World War II
Garrison information
GarrisonTraining Section, Air Service
Douglas O-46
This Douglas O-46 bears the Spearhead insignia of Wilbur Wright Field (1931-1942) on its fuselage.


World War I

Wilbur Wright Field was established in 1917[1] for World War I on 2,075 acres (840 ha) of land adjacent to the Mad River which included the 1910 Wright Brothers' Huffman Prairie Flying Field and that was leased to the Army by the Miami Conservancy District.[2] Logistics support to Wilbur Wright Field was by the adjacent Fairfield Aviation General Supply Depot established in January 1918[3]:7 and which also supplied three other Midwest Signal Corps aviation schools.[2] A Signal Corps Aviation School began in June 1917 for providing combat pilots to the Western Front in France, and the field housed an aviation mechanic's school and an armorer's school.[2] On 19 June 1918, Lt. Frank Stuart Patterson at the airfield was testing machine gun/propeller synchronization when a tie rod failure broke the wings off his Airco DH.4M while diving from 15,000 ft (4,600 m).[4] Also in 1918, McCook Field near Dayton between Keowee Street and the Great Miami River began using space and mechanics at Wilbur Wright Field. Following World War I, the training school at Wilbur Wright Field was discontinued.[2]

Training units assigned to Wilbur Wright Field[5]

  • 42d Aero Squadron, August 1917
Re-designated Squadron "I"; October 1918-February 1919
  • 44th Aero Squadron, August 1917
Re-designated Squadron "K"; October 1918
Re-designated Squadron "P"; November 1918-April 1919
  • 231st Aero Squadron (II), April 1918
Re-designated Squadron "A", July–December 1918; Assigned to Armorers' School
  • 246th Aero Squadron (II), May 1918
Re-designated Squadron "L", October 1918-February 1919
  • 342d Aero Squadron, August 1918
Re-designated Squadron "M" October 1918
Re-designated Squadron "Q" November 1918-April 1919
  • 507th Aero Squadron, July 1918-April 1919
  • 512th Aero Squadron (Supply), July 1918-April 1919
  • 669th Aero Squadron (Supply), May 1918-April 1919
  • 678th Aero Squadron (Supply), February 1918-April 1919
  • 851st Aero Squadron, March 1918
Re-designated Squadron "B" July 1918-April 1919

Combat units trained at Wilbur Wright Field[5]

Service units trained at Wilbur Wright Field[5]

  • 19th Aero Squadron, July–November 1917; Deployed to American Expeditionary Forces
  • 151st Aero Squadron, December 1917-February 1918; Deployed to American Expeditionary Forces
  • 211th Aero Squadron, December 1917-February 1918; Deployed to American Expeditionary Forces
  • 255th Aero Squadron, March–June 1918; Deployed to American Expeditionary Forces
  • 256th Aero Squadron; March–June 1918; Deployed to American Expeditionary Forces
  • 257th Aero Squadron; March–June 1918; Deployed to American Expeditionary Forces
  • 258th Aero Squadron; March–June 1918; Deployed to American Expeditionary Forces
  • 259th Aero Squadron; March–July 1918; Deployed to American Expeditionary Forces
  • 260th Aero Squadron; March–July 1918; Deployed to American Expeditionary Forces
  • 265th Aero Squadron; March–July 1918; Deployed to American Expeditionary Forces
  • 287th Aero Squadron, May–July 1918; Transferred to Chanute Field, Illinois
  • 288th Aero Squadron, May–July 1918; Transferred to Chanute Field, Illinois
  • 827th Aero Squadron (Repair), February–March 1918; Deployed to American Expeditionary Forces

Inter-war years

1923 records for speed, distance, and endurance were set by an April 16 Fokker T-2 flight from Wilbur Wright Field which used a 50 km (31 mi) course around the water tower, the McCook Field water tower, and a pylon placed at New Carlisle.[6] In June 1923, an Air Service TC-1 airship "was wrecked in a storm at Wilbur Wright Field"[7] and by 1924, the field had "an interlock system" radio beacon using Morse code command guidance (dash-dot "N" for port, dot-dash "A" for starboard) illuminating instrument board lights.[3]:155 The Field Service Section at Wilbur Wright Field merged with McCook's Engineering Division to form the Materiel Division on 15 October 1926 ("moved to Wright Field when McCook Field closed in 1927").[8] The Air Service's "control station for the model airway"—which scheduled military flights of the Airways Section—moved to Wilbur Wright Field from McCook Field in the late 1920s (originally "at Bolling Field until 1925").[3]


The Fairfield Air Depot formed when the leased area of Wilbur Wright Field and the Army-owned land of the Fairfield Aviation General Supply Depot merged soon after World War I. For an aerial war game of 1929, "Fairfield" was the headquarters of the Blue air force: a Blue "airdrome north of Dayton at Troy" was strafed on May 16 ("a raid on the airdrome at Fairfield" was later expected), "Dayton" was the May 21 take off site for a round-trip bomber attack on New York, and "target areas at Fairfield" were used for live bombing on May 25.[3]:242–5 A provisional division was "assembled at Dayton" on May 16, 1931, for maneuvers in which "Maj. Henry H. Arnold, division G-4 (Supply), had stocks at Pittsburgh; Cleveland; Buffalo; Middletown, Pennsylvania; Aberdeen, Maryland; and Bolling Field to service units as they flew eastward."[3]:236 The depot remained active until 1946.[2]

Wright Field

In 1924, the city of Dayton purchased 4,500 acres (1,821 ha), the portion of Fairfield Air Depot leased in 1917 for Wilbur Wright Field, along with an additional 750 acres (300 ha) in Montgomery County to the southwest (now part of Riverside). The combined area was named Wright Field to honor both Wright Brothers. A new installation with permanent brick facilities was constructed to replace McCook Field and was dedicated on October 12, 1927. The transfer of 4,500 tons of engineering material, office equipment and other assets at McCook Field to Wright Field began on March 25, 1927, and was 85% complete by June 1 after moving 1,859 truckloads. "The Engineering School shut down for the school year 1927-28 at Wright Field,[3] which had the Army Air Corps Museum in Building 12.[9]

By November 1930, "the laboratory at Wright Field" had planes fitted as flying laboratories"[10] (e.g., B-19 "flying laboratory" with "8-foot tires"),[11]:139 and the equipment of the 1929 Full Flight Laboratory (closed out by the Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics, which had established the principle of safe fog flying) was moved to Wright Field by the end of 1931. Materiel Division’s Fog Flying Unit under 1st Lt. Albert F. Hegenberger used the equipment for blind landings.[3]

Patterson Field

Patterson Field named for Lt Patterson was designated on 6 July 1931 as the area of Wright Field east of Huffman Dam (including Fairfield Air Depot, Huffman Prairie, and Wright Field's airfield). Patterson Field became the location of the Materiel Division of the Air Corps and a key logistics center and in 1935, quarters were built at Patterson Field[3]:350 which in 1939 still "was without runways…heavier aircraft met difficulty in landing in inclement weather."[12]:7 Wright Field retained the land west of the Huffman Dam and became the research and development center of the Air Corps.[13]

Pre-war events

Engineering and flight activities of the two installations after the designation of Patterson Field included numerous aviation achievements and failures prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor:

Date Field Event
1932 May Patterson Blind landings at Patterson Field were conducted by the Fog Flying Unit using a variation of Doolitte's landing system from Mitchel Field.[3]:278
1933-01 Wright Both metal, two-place, low-wing monoplanes from Consolidated Aircraft (Y lP-25 for pursuit, XA-11 for attack) crashed during tests.[3]
1933-05 Patterson The Blue air force flew a simulated attack on Fort Knox representing "a rail and supply center" (the Red force's 1st Pursuit Group "maintained surveillance of Patterson Field" and relayed bombers' take off via a transport plane circling near Cincinnati.).[3]:414
1933-07 Wright The Materiel Division 1st course on the Mark XV Norden bombsight instructed "a few officers in care, maintenance, and operation" (2nd class finished September 1, 1934.)[3]
1935-08-28 Wright "Automatic radio navigation equipment comprising Sperry automatic pilot mechanically linked to standard radio compass" tested by Equipment Branch.[11]:354
1935-10-30 Wright The "Flying Fortress" prototype "Boeing 299 crashed during testing [after] no one had unlocked the rudder and elevator controls", killing the Flying Division chief and Boeing test pilot.[3]
1935-12-31 "Device insuring automatic fuel transfer in airplanes with reserve fuel tanks developed by Air Corps Materiel Division."[11]:354
1936 fall Wright Douglas Aircraft "delivered the first B-18 to Wright Field".[3]
1936-12 Wright The XB-15, "largest bombardment plane to date, from Boeing Plant at Seattle" arrived for testing.[11]:354
1937-05-20 Patterson The 10th Transport Group with Maj. Hugh A. Bivins commander (the group was headquartered as a Regular Army group.)[14] was activated as the Air Corps' "operational transport unit" with C-27s and C-33s
1937-09-01 Patterson The Air Corps Weather School began—20 of 25 in the first class graduated January 28.[15]
1939-04-20 Patterson "Air Corps school for autogiro training and maintenance opens".[11]:354
1939-05 Wright "First 4-blade controllable-pitch propeller known to be built in U. S. is installed on a P-36A".[11]:355
1939-07-30 Wright World record (payload): "Maj. C. V. Haynes and Capt. W. D. Old fly Army Boeing B-15 to 8200 ft. with…15½ tons".[11]:355
1940-06 Wright Construction began at Wright Field for World War II ($48,817,078 through September 1945), "the most extensive of all AAF command facilities."[12]:140
1941-06 Wright Dayton's Price Brothers Company began constructing 2 concrete USACE runways: NW-SE next to the flight line and E-W along the southern edge of the property (completed February 1942). A SW-NE runway was completed in 1944.[16]
1941-06-21 Patterson Air Corps Ferrying Command opened an "installation point" at Patterson Field (moved to Romulus, Michigan by August).[17]
1941-10-17 Patterson Air Service Command established under the Materiel Division, OCAC, from the "Air Corps Provisional Maintenance Comd" formed on March 15, 1941 (renamed Air Corps Maintenance Command April 29,[11] elevated from provisional status on 30 June). ASC was removed from the Material Div on 11 December; "stored, overhauled, and repaired AAF aircraft and equipment" in World War II; and developed a network of base facilities [including] 11 air depots.[18] (moved to Washington DC on December 15, but returned to Patterson Field on December 15, 1942.)[8]

AAF and USAF base

The Army Air Forces Technical Base was formed on December 15, 1945, when Wright Field, Patterson Field, Dayton Army Air Field in Vandalia and Clinton County AAF in Wilmington merged. After the USAF was created, the base was renamed Air Force Technical Base in December 1947 and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in January 1948.. The former Wright Field became Area B of the combined installation, the southern portion of Patterson Field became Area A, and the northern portion of Patterson Field, including the jet runway built in 1946-47, Area C.


  1. ^ William R. Evinger: Directory of Military Bases in the U.S., Oryx Press, Phoenix, Ariz., 1991, p. 147.
  2. ^ a b c d e Wright-Patterson Air Force Base history
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Maurer, Maurer. Aviation in the US Army, 1919-1939 (Report). ISBN 0-912799-38-2. On July 17, 1926,…the Air Corps got two new brigadier generals [promoted from lieutenant colonel, including] William E. Gillmore to be Chief of the Materiel Division to be created at Dayton, Ohio. … Major Schroeder and Lieutenant Macready’s altitude work had a direct bearing on air power for it led to superchargers, oxygen systems, and other equipment … The Boeing 299 crashed during testing at Wright Field on October 30, 1935. Aboard were Tower and four men from the Materiel Division-Maj. Ployer P. Hill, Chief of the Flying Branch, pilot; 1st Lt. Donald L. Putt, copilot; John B. Cutting, engineer; and Mark H. Koogler, mechanic. Taking off, the plane climbed steeply to 300 feet, stalled, crashed, and caught fire. Tower and Hill died. Investigation disclosed that no one had unlocked the rudder and elevator controls.
  4. ^ "Part V: Wright Field 1927-1948" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-06.
  5. ^ a b c Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the First World War, Volume 3, Part 3, Center of Military History, United States Army, 1949 (1988 Reprint)
  6. ^ ASNL [Air Service News Letter], Feb 20, 1923, pp 7-8. (Maurer Ch. XI citation 31, p. 181)
  7. ^ Citation 34 (Cited by Maurer's Training chapter, p. 63)
  8. ^ a b Benson, Lawrence R. (2007). Acquisition Management in the United States Air Force and its Predecessors (PDF) (Report). Air Force History and Museums Program. Retrieved 2013-09-05. To manage logistics functions, the Air Corps Maintenance Command was formed on 29 April 1941 at Patterson Field, located adjacent to Wright Field. This command, originally built from the Materiel Division's Field Service Section, was replaced on 17 October 1941 by the Air Service Command. In December 1941 it came directly under General Arnold. For exactly one year, until 15 December 1942, the command's headquarters were located in Washington, D.C., but thereafter returned to Patterson Field. ...the AAF made two changes on 16 March 1942. It redesignated the growing office of the Chief of the Materiel Division in Washington as the Materiel Command, while redesignating subordinate elements at Wright Field as the Materiel Center. On 1 April 1943 Headquarters Materiel Command moved back to Wright Field to be near the headquarters of the Air Service Command, but it left behind the former commander and much of his staff as the Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Materiel, Maintenance, and Distribution.
  9. ^ "Southwest Ohio Fairfield Air Depot / Wright Field". Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields. Airfields-Freeman.com. Retrieved 2013-09-19. Building 12 (which originally served as the Army Air Corps Museum) is on the left.
  10. ^ "title tbd". Signal Corps Bulletin: 5–11. November–December 1930. (Cited by Maurer p. 558)
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Arnold, Henry H.--Foreword (June 1944--Special Edition for AAF Organizations) [May 1944]. AAF: The Official Guide to the Army Air Forces. New York: Pocket Books. Army Air Forces Board--The Army Air Forces Board is the AAF laboratory group for tactical research and experimentation. The board utilizes the personnel and facilities of the AAF Tactical Center and the Proving Ground Command to conduct tests which precede its decisions and recommendations. … The Air Service Command has 11 air depots as well as a number of special depots and stations. … AAF ENGINEERING SCHOOL--3 months' course. At Wright Field, Ohio, the Materiel Command gives a course in aeronautical engineering for pilots with degrees. … AIR SERVICE COMMAND--Patterson Field, Fairfield, Ohio; Maj. Gen. W. H. Frank. … AIR SERVICE COMMAND (ASC) is the stockroom and garage of the AAF. Operating within the continental U.S., it receives all our aircraft and aircraft equipment and supplies… ASC is organized into 11 subordinate area air service commands, each operating in a designated area of the U. S. … AIR FORCE AIR SERVICE COMMANDS perform within the theaters of operations [the] supply and maintenance functions similar to those of the ASC within the continental U. S. … Near the center of each of 11 continental Air Service Command areas is an air depot. An air depot is a large wholesale house and warehouse, normally stocked with 2 months' supply of the types of property required in its area. In addition it performs heavy aircraft maintenance work. … Near the major ports of embarkation, the Air Service Command operates in-transit depots, which carry small stocks of AAF technical supplies… Check date values in: |year= (help)
  12. ^ a b Futrell, Robert F. (July 1947). Development of AAF Base Facilities in the United States: 1939-1945 (Report). ARS-69: US Air Force Historical Study No 69 (Copy No. 2). Air Historical Office. The headquarters and the experimental activities of the Material Division, OCAC, were located at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, a new field which had been occupied in 1927.22 (p. 7)
  13. ^  This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.
  14. ^ "Ltr, Brig Gcn Augustine W. Robins, Ch, Materiel Div, to CAC, Apr 13, 1937, in AFHRC 145.91 - 136; Maurer, Combat Units, pp 52-53" (Cited by Maurer p. 368)
  15. ^ "ACNLs, Jun 1, 1938, pp 1-2, Oct 1, 1938, pp 3-4; Aircraft Record Card, 36-349, in AFHRC." (Cited by Maurer p. 397)
  16. ^ Walker, Lois F. & Wickam, Shelby Z. (1986). From Huffman Prairie to the Moon: A History of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Office of History, 2750th Air Base Wing, WPAFB. p. 476. ISBN 0-16-002204-5.
  17. ^ "The Origins of the Ferrying Div., ATC, May 1941 to Dec. 1941, v. 1, pp. 81-89; ltr., Col. F. M. Kennedy, Chief, D&G Div., to TAG, sub.: Lease of Wayne County Airport, Michigan, 11 June 1941, in AAG 601.53." (Futrell Ch. IV citation 245, pp. 144, 236)
  18. ^ "Hist. AAF MC, 1926 thru 1941, v. 1, pp. 51-53 in AFSHO 200.1, v. 1. (cited by Futrell p. 140)
12th Aero Squadron

The 12th Aero Squadron was a Air Service, United States Army unit that fought on the Western Front during World War I.

The squadron was assigned as a Corps Observation Squadron, performing short-range, tactical reconnaissance over the I Corps, United States First Army sector of the Western Front in France, providing battlefield intelligence. After the 1918 Armistice with Germany, the squadron was assigned to the United States Third Army as part of the Occupation of the Rhineland in Germany. It returned to the United States in June 1919 and became part of the permanent United States Army Air Service in 1921, being redesignated as the 12th Squadron (Observation).The current United States Air Force unit which holds its lineage and history is the 12th Reconnaissance Squadron, assigned to the 69th Reconnaissance Group, Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota.

13th Aero Squadron

The 13th Aero Squadron was a Air Service, United States Army unit that fought on the Western Front during World War I.

The squadron was assigned as a Day Pursuit (Fighter) Squadron as part of the 2d Pursuit Group, First United States Army. Its mission was to engage and clear enemy aircraft from the skies and provide escort to reconnaissance and bombardment squadrons over enemy territory. It also attacked enemy observation balloons, and perform close air support and tactical bombing attacks of enemy forces along the front lines. After the 1918 Armistice with Germany, the squadron returned to the United States in March 1919 and demobilized.On 16 October 1936 the squadron was re-constituted, and consolidated with the United States Army Air Corps 13th Attack Squadron. Today, the current United States Air Force unit which holds its lineage and history is the 13th Bomb Squadron, assigned to the 509th Operations Group, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri.

163d Aero Squadron

The 163d Aero Squadron was a Air Service, United States Army unit that fought on the Western Front during World War I.

The squadron was assigned as a Day Bombardment Squadron, assigned to the 2d Day Bombardment Group, United States Second Army. Its mission was to perform long-range bombing attacks on roads and railroads; destruction of materiel and massed troop formations behind enemy lines.With Second Army's planned offensive drive on Metz cancelled due to the 1918 Armistice with Germany, the squadron returned to the United States in June 1919 and was demobilized.The squadron has never been re-activated and there is no United States Air Force or Air National Guard unit with its lineage or history.

166th Aero Squadron

The 166th Aero Squadron was a Air Service, United States Army unit that fought on the Western Front during World War I.

The squadron was assigned as a Day Bombardment Squadron, performing long-range bombing attacks on roads and railroads; destruction of materiel and massed troop formations behind enemy lines. It also performed strategic reconnaissance over enemy-controlled territory, and tactical bombing attacks on enemy forces in support of Army offensive operations.After the 1918 Armistice with Germany, the squadron was assigned to the United States Third Army as part of the Occupation of the Rhineland in Germany. It returned to the United States in June 1919 and became part of the permanent United States Army Air Service in 1921, being re-designated as the 49th Squadron (Bombardment).The current United States Air Force unit which holds its lineage and history is the 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron, assigned to the 53d Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.

20th Bomb Squadron

Not to be confused with XX Bomber CommandThe 20th Bomb Squadron is a unit of the 2d Operations Group of the United States Air Force located at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. The 20th is equipped with the Boeing B-52H Stratofortress.

Formed in May 1917 as the 20th Aero Squadron, the squadron saw combat in France on the World War I Western Front. It took part in the St. Mihiel offensive and Meuse-Argonne offensive.

After the war, it served with the Army Air Service and Army Air Corps as the 20th Bombardment Squadron During the 1920s and 1930s, the squadron was involved in field service testing of new bomber aircraft, notably the Y1B-17 Flying Fortress.

During World War II the squadron fought in the North African and Italian Campaigns. It was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its actions during a raid on Steyr, Austria.

It was a part of Strategic Air Command during the Cold War. As a medium bomber squadron it deployed to stand alert at forward bases in "Reflex" operations. After equipping with Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses stood nuclear alert, but during the Viet Nam War the squadron deployed frequently to perform Operation Arc Light bombing missions. Since 1993, the 20th Bomb Squadron has flown the B-52H Stratofortress long-range strategic bomber, which can perform a variety of missions. Today the squadron is engaged in the Global War on Terrorism.

258th Aero Squadron

The 258th Aero Squadron was a Air Service, United States Army unit that fought on the Western Front during World War I.

The squadron was assigned as a Corps Observation Squadron, performing short-range, tactical reconnaissance over the VII Corps, United States First Army sector of the Western Front in France, providing battlefield intelligence. After the 1918 Armistice with Germany, the squadron was assigned to the United States Third Army as part of the Occupation of the Rhineland in Germany. It returned to the United States in August 1919 and was demobilized.There is no current United States Air Force or Air National Guard successor unit.

44th Reconnaissance Squadron

The 44th Reconnaissance Squadron is an active squadron of the United States Air Force, stationed at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, where it operates unmanned aerial vehicles. The squadron is assigned to the 732d Operations Group.

As the 430th Bombardment Squadron it saw combat with the 502d Bombardment Group in the closing months of World War II, flying from Northwest Field, Guam, earning a Distinguished Unit Citation. It remained in the Pacific until it was inactivated on 15 April 1946.

Aeronautical Systems Center

The Aeronautical Systems Center (ASC) is an inactivated Air Force product center that designed, developed and delivered dominant aerospace weapon systems and capabilities for U.S. Air Force, other U.S. military, allied and coalition-partner warfighters, in support of Air Force leadership priorities. ASC managed 420 Air Force, joint and international aircraft acquisition programs and related projects; executed an annual budget of $19 billion and employed a work force of more than 11,000 people, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force base and 38 other locations worldwide. The center was organized into wings, groups, and squadrons designed to foster synergy in the acquisition process and speed delivery of war-winning capabilities. ASC's portfolio included capabilities in fighter/attack, long-range strike, reconnaissance, mobility, agile combat support, special operations forces, training, unmanned aircraft systems, human systems integration and installation support. ASC was inactivated during a July 20, 2012 ceremony held at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Edmund Hill

Major General Edmund W. Hill (April 26, 1896 – May 1, 1973) was an American aviation pioneer who served in the military in both world wars.Born in New London, Connecticut, Hill attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army's infantry on August 9, 1917, and promoted to first lieutenant on the same day. After serving in France during World War I, he was transferred to the Air Service on February 25, 1922.He was a free and captive balloon pilot, flew dirigible airships and was an airplane pilot. In 1924, he was the pilot of the first airship to launch and pick up an airplane while in flight, at Wilbur Wright Field. His 1928 balloon licence (number 25; FAI number 930) was one of very few signed by Orville Wright, in his capacity as Chairman of the National Aeronautic Association's Contest Committee.He was commander of Bolling Field in Washington DC from 1939-1941, then of U.S. Air Forces in Northern Ireland, and the Eighth Air Force Composite Command during World War II. He was in charge of air operations at the Yalta and Potsdam Conferences. In 1944, he was U.S. Army Air Force commanding officer in charge of Post Hostilities planning for Europe.The same year, he became head of the Air Section of the United States mission to Moscow, then served as commanding general, U.S. Air Force in the U.S.S.R. from December 1944 until May 1945.He coordinated the Inter-American Defense Board before his retirement on November 1, 1946.His awards included the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star, and Air Medal. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, awarded Legion d'honeur and Croix de Guerre with Palm.

Edson Fessenden Gallaudet

Edson Fessenden Gallaudet (April 21, 1871 in Washington, D.C. – July 1, 1945 in Pine Orchard, Connecticut) was a pioneer in the field of aviation, being the first person to experiment with warped wings in 1896. In 1898 he built a warping-wing kite to test his invention of a warping-wing mechanism; this kite survives and is on display in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. In 1911 he obtained US pilot's license No. 32 with the Aero Club of America, flying a Wright biplane in Garden City, New York. Also in 1911 he earned a pilot's brevet with the Aero Club of France flying a Nieuport monoplane.

Gallaudet was born in Washington, D.C. to Edward Miner Gallaudet, the son of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, founder of Gallaudet University. Both his father and grandfather were famous educators in the field of deaf education. He received his B.A. from Yale University in 1893, and his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 1896. He worked at Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1896 to 1897, then became an instructor of physics at Yale, where he taught from 1897 to 1900. From 1900 to 1903 he worked at William Cramp & Sons' Ship and Engine Building Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and then, in 1903, worked at the National Cash Register Company in Dayton, Ohio. He married Marion Cockrell on February 14, 1903. From 1903 to 1908 he worked as an assistant to the President and General Superintendent of the Stillwell Bierce & Smith Vaile Company in Dayton (which later became the Platt Iron Works Company). In 1908 he worked for the New England Refrigerator Company in Norwich, Connecticut. In 1908 he founded the Gallaudet Engineering Company in Norwich, where, as President, he did work as a mechanical and consulting engineer and, in 1909, built his first airplane. Gallaudet Engineering Company was incorporated as the Gallaudet Aircraft Corporation in 1917. As a student at Yale in the Class of 1893 he was a member of Psi Upsilon and Skull and Bones. He was an Associate Fellow with the Institute of the Aeronatical Sciences, Inc., a member of the American Society of Aeronautic Engineers, Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, and a member of the Aero Club of America, Sigma X1, Engineers' Club (New York). He was a member of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In 1923 Gallaudet built an all-metal aircraftm which flew on June 20, 1923 at Wilbur Wright Field in Ohio.In 1924 Gallaudet retired from the company he had founded. The company assets were acquired by Major Reuben Fleet, who used them as the core around which he founded Consolidated Aircraft Corporation.

Edson's wife Marion Cockrell, daughter of Francis Marion Cockrell, launched USS Missouri (BB-11).

Edson's brother, Herbert D. Gallaudet, graduated Yale in 1898 and his son, Edward D. Gallaudet, graduated Yale in 1924. Edson's mother, Susan Denison, was the daughter of Dr. Joseph Adam Denison, Jr and Eliza Skinner Denison of Royalton, Vermont.

He died in 1945 in Pine Orchard, Connecticut, and is buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford, Connecticut.

Fairfield Aviation General Supply Depot

The Fairfield Aviation General Supply Depot is a former Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps military facility, located adjacent to Wilbur Wright Field in Riverside, Ohio.

Fighting McCooks

The Fighting McCooks were members of a family of Ohioans who reached prominence as officers in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Two brothers, Daniel and John McCook, and thirteen of their sons were involved in the army, making the family one of the most prolific in American military history. Six of the McCooks reached the rank of brigadier general or higher. Several family members were killed in action or died from their wounds. Following the war, several others reached high political offices, including governorships and diplomatic posts.

Floyd Van Nest Schultz

Floyd Van Nest Schultz (November 7, 1910 – June 18, 1986) was an American Educator and Electrical Engineering Scientist responsible for pioneering work in Radar and Radio. He received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (6/1932), Masters of Science (9/1939) and PhD (6/1950) from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He was a Professor of Electrical Engineering at University of Tennessee and Purdue University, was elected to the honorary societies: Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu, Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Eta Sigma and the Honorary Committee, and played flute in the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra.

Schultz held multiple patents and published a wide range of engineering reports and papers. In 1950, he received his Ph.D from the University of Michigan for his thesis publication entitled; “Scattering by a Prolate Spheroid.” This is the theoretical determination of the scattering of both an incident electro-magnetic wave and the incident acoustic wave by a prolate spheroid. His work was done as part of the basic research phase of a US Air Force guided missile contract.

In addition to his educational career, Schultz held engineering positions at Globe Radio Manufacturing Co., Detroit, Gulf Research and Development Corp., Pittsburgh, Wilcox-Gay Corp., Charlotte, Michigan, Group Supervisor, Radar Laboratory, Wilbur Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, and International Detrola Corp., Detroit, Michigan.

He married Julia Laurene Bovee in 1932 and had two children; Gretchen Lewis of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Karl Herbert of Sherwood, Oregon. At the time of his death to lung cancer in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1986, he was survived by his second wife, Dorothy, three step-sons, one step-daughter, four grandchildren and seven step-grandchildren.

Frank Stuart Patterson

Lt. Frank Patterson(September 3, 1896 - June 19, 1918) was a test pilot for the Army Air Corp, and was killed in the crash of his DH.4M, AS-32098, at Wilbur Wright Field near Dayton, Ohio on June 19, 1918. He was piloting a flight test of a new mechanism for synchronizing twin machine guns and the propeller when a tie rod broke during a dive from 15,000 feet (4,600 m), causing the wings to separate from the aircraft.

Frank Stuart Patterson was born in Dayton, Ohio, on November 6, 1897. He was the son of Frank Jefferson Patterson and Julia Shaw Patterson. The elder Patterson and his brother, John H. Patterson, founded The National Cash Register Company (NCR) and figured prominently in local Dayton history. Frank attended Yale University, but graduated "in absentia" in the spring of 1918 because he, like many of his classmates, had joined the Army. He enlisted in May 1917 and was commissioned in September as a first lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps with the aeronautical rating of pilot. Lieutenant Patterson was assigned to the 137th Aero Squadron as a test pilot at Wilbur Wright Field the following May. On June 19, 1918, little more than a month after his arrival, Lieutenant Patterson and his aerial observer, Lieutenant LeRoy Amos Swan, went aloft in their DH-4 to test newly installed machine gun synchronizers, allowing the guns to fire between the blades of the propeller as it rotated at high speed. They completed two trials successfully, but during a steep dive on the third test a tie rod securing the wings broke and the airplane's wings collapsed. The aircraft crashed, killing both crewmen.

About 5 years following Lt. Patterson's death, the Patterson family formed the Dayton Air Service Committee, Inc which held a campaign that raised $425,000 in 2 days and purchased 4,520.47 acres (18.2937 km2) northeast of Dayton, greatly expanding the available land adjacent to Wilbur Wright Field and the Huffman Prairie Flying Field. In 1924, the Committee presented the deeds to President Calvin Coolidge for the construction of a new aviation engineering center.

On July 6, 1931, a portion of Wright Field east of Huffman Dam was separated from Wright Field and redesignated "Patterson Field" in honor of both Lieutenant Frank Stuart Patterson and the contribution of the Patterson family.

Patterson Field and the adjacent Wright Field were officially merged on January 13, 1948 as a base for the newly created U.S. Air Force, and was named the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base ("Wright-Patt" as it is called colloquially).

Patterson is interred at Woodland Cemetery in Dayton.

Sikorsky S-37

The Sikorsky S-37 was an American twin-engine aircraft built by the Sikorsky Manufacturing Corporation. Both examples of the series were completed in 1927. The S-37 was specifically designed to compete for the Orteig Prize and would be the last land based fixed-wing aircraft Sikorsky would produce.

United States Army World War I Flight Training

With the purchase of its first airplane, built and successfully flown by Orville and Wilbur Wright, in 1909 the United States Army began the training of flight personnel. This article describes the training provided in those early years, though World War I, and the immediate years after the war until the establishment of the United States Army Air Corps Flight Training Center in San Antonio, Texas during 1926.

Waloddi Weibull

Ernst Hjalmar Waloddi Weibull (18 June 1887 – 12 October 1979) was a Swedish engineer, scientist, and mathematician.

Weibull came from a family that had strong ties to Scania. He was a cousin of the historian brothers Lauritz, Carl Gustaf and Curt Weibull.

He joined the Swedish Coast Guard in 1904 as a midshipman. Weibull moved up the ranks with promotion to sublieutenant in 1907, Captain in 1916 and Major in 1940. While in the coast guard he took courses at the Royal Institute of Technology. In 1924 he graduated and became a full professor. Weibull obtained his doctorate from the University of Uppsala in 1932. He was employed in Swedish and German industry as a consulting engineer.

In 1914, while on expeditions to the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean on the research ship Albatross, Weibull wrote his first paper on the propagation of explosive waves. He developed the technique of using explosive charges to determine the type of ocean bottom sediments and their thickness. The same technique is still used today in offshore oil exploration.

In 1939 he published his paper on the Weibull distribution in probability theory and statistics. In 1941 he received a personal research professorship in Technical Physics at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm from the arms producer Bofors.Weibull published many papers on strength of materials, fatigue, rupture in solids, bearings, and of course, the Weibull distribution, as well as one book on fatigue analysis in 1961. 27 of these papers were reports to the US Air Force at Wilbur Wright Field on Weibull analysis.

In 1951 he presented his paper on the Weibull distribution to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), using seven case studies.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers awarded Weibull their gold medal in 1972. The Great Gold Medal from the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences was personally presented to him by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in 1978.Weibull died on 12 October 1979 in Annecy, France.

Witteman-Lewis XNBL-1

The Wittemann-Lewis NBL-1 "Barling Bomber" was an experimental long-range, heavy bomber built for the United States Army Air Service in the early 1920s. Although unsuccessful as a bomber, it was an early attempt at creating a strategic bomber.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) (IATA: FFO, ICAO: KFFO, FAA LID: FFO) is a United States Air Force base and census-designated place just east of Dayton, Ohio, in Greene and Montgomery counties. It includes both Wright and Patterson Fields, which were originally Wilbur Wright Field and Fairfield Aviation General Supply Depot. Patterson Field is approximately 16 kilometres (10 mi) northeast of Dayton; Wright Field is approximately 8.0 kilometres (5 mi) northeast of Dayton.

The host unit at Wright-Patterson AFB is the 88th Air Base Wing (88 ABW), assigned to the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and Air Force Materiel Command. The 88 ABW operates the airfield, maintains all infrastructure and provides security, communications, medical, legal, personnel, contracting, finance, transportation, air traffic control, weather forecasting, public affairs, recreation and chaplain services for more than 60 associate units.

The base's origins begin with the establishment of Wilbur Wright Field on 22 May and McCook Field in November 1917, both established by the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps as World War I installations. McCook was used as a testing field and for aviation experiments. Wright was used as a flying field (renamed Patterson Field in 1931); Fairfield Aviation General Supply Depot; armorers’ school, and a temporary storage depot. McCook's functions were transferred to Wright Field when it was closed in October 1927. Wright-Patterson AFB was established in 1948 as a merger of Patterson and Wright Fields.

In 1995, negotiations to end the Bosnian War were held at the base, resulting in the Dayton Agreement that ended the war.

The 88th Air Base Wing is commanded by Col. Thomas Sherman Its Command Chief Master Sergeant is Chief Master Sergeant Steve Arbona. The base had a total of 27,406 military, civilian and contract employees in 2010. The Greene County portion of the base is a census-designated place (CDP), with a resident population of 1,821 at the 2010 census.


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