Wright “B” Flyer Celebrate 25 Years of Flight

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Saturday, July 21, 2007
Contact: Timothy R. Gaffney: 937.219.8277
Or Wright “B” Flyer Inc.
Phone: (937) 885-2327 Email: wbflyer@dayton.net

Photos available at www.timothyrgaffney.com/flyer (use all lowercase letters)
See below for captions and terms of use.
Wright “B” Flyer Celebrate 25 Years of Flight

DAYTON, Oh ó The group that operates the flying symbol of Dayton’s aviation heritage celebrated 25 years of operations today with an open house and commemorative flights of its lookalike 1911 Wright “B” Flyer.

    Wright “B” Flyer Inc. Pilot John Warlick made two passes down the runway at Dayton Wright Brothers Airport in Miami Twp., marking the anniversary of the airplane’s first test flights on July 21, 1982 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Warlick, 82, also made the original  test flights.

    They were among more than a score of flight the craft made throughout the day for new members and distinguished guests, including National Aviation Hall of Fame Enshrinee Joseph W. Kittinger and film producer Brian J. Terwilliger, who was in town as emcee for the hall of fame’s annual enshrinement ceremony.

    The Wright “B” Flyer is one of a kind: a modern machine designed to resemble the world’s first production airplane, the Wright brothers’ Model B. Many changes were made to make the new airplane safer and more reliable than the original while retaining its general appearance. It was based on the Army Signal Corp’s first production airplane, produced by Wilbur and Orville Wrightís The Wright Company in Dayton.

    A group of aviation enthusiasts at Wright-Patterson launched the Wright “B” Flyer project in 1975. Assembly took place in a base hangar. Warlick, a retired Navy aviator, said more than 1,000 people had some involvement in the project.

    He recalled being nervous about the first flight because a crowd had turned out to watch it ó including the base’s fire and rescue teams.

    “We had every crash truck on the base following us,” he said with a laugh. The five test flights went without mishap.

    Since then, the airplane has promoted Dayton’s aviation heritage with regular flights at the Dayton Air Show and appearances around the U.S. and overseas. For example, it was displayed at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, Germany, in 1990 and circled the Statue of Liberty in New York in 2003.

    While the current airplane is still viable, it is expensive and difficult to transport overseas. The organization has launched a project to build a new lookalike that will be easier to take apart and transport to international events.

    Wright “B” Flyer Inc. is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that promotes Dayton’s heritage as the home of the Wright brothers and the birthplace of aviation. More information is available on its website, www.wright-b-flyer.org 

Updated: July 18, 2011 — 3:26 PM
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