Wright Brothers’ Day

Flying at Huffman Prairie, Oct. 1905. Image location 16-7-3, MS-1 Wright Brothers Collection, Special Collections and Archives, Wright State University Libraries

Don’t think of it as a history; think of it as a future. Nothing has changed the world more than aviation. ~ Amanda Wright Lane

Have you ever wanted to test your flying skills on a Wright Brothers’ airplane? Curious about aviation technologies of the future? If so, then Wright State University’s celebration of Wright Brothers’ Day today was the place to be.

Organized by the WSU Marketing Club, Wright Brothers’ Day commemorates the anniversary of practical flight. On October 5, 1905, the Wrights flew at Huffman Prairie, located close to where Wright State University is today, demonstrating the viability of their design by staying aloft for nearly forty minutes. Their flights that October convinced the brothers to move forward with plans to patent and market their invention.

Today’s events celebrated that milestone. Amanda Wright Lane, great-grandniece of Orville and Wilbur Wright, helped mark the occasion by reading an executive resolution issued by Ohio Gov. Kasich declaring Wright Brothers’ Day across Ohio. Tom Benson and Roger Storm, who both work for the NASA Glenn Research Center near Cleveland, Ohio, were on hand dressed as Orville and Wilbur. Special Collections and Archives exhibited original materials from the Wright Brothers Collection. Other displays included emerging technologies from Wright State researchers and local businesses in such fields as 3D visualization, robotics, and micro air vehicles, all tracing their inspiration back to the Wrights’ invention. The National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) brought out the Wright “B” Flyer flight simulator, so people could test their flying skills, while a half-size replica of the Wright “B” was on display outside.

Although designed primarily for students as a way to promote the study of technology past, present, and future, participants of all ages enjoyed learning about the Wright Brothers and their ongoing influence in aviation and technology. As Amanda Wright Lane noted, “While the name of the university, and my family, reflects the heritage of 100 years ago, the fact is that the spirit of innovation represented by the Wright brothers lives on. This university is deeply a part of that spirit in their engineering programs and aerospace medicine.” She concluded with a thought many Ohioans echo: “You dream it, Ohio can make it. We need to tell people we still build things in Ohio.”

For more information about Wright Brothers’ Day on campus, see the article and video from WSU’s Communications and Marketing.

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