Members of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds jet team toured Wright brothers’ sites and flew in a World War II bomber Tuesday and Wednesday while in the area for the Vectren Dayton Air Show.
An earlier-than-usual arrival at Dayton International Airport for the air show taking place this weekend gave the 65-member team some free time. Pilots and several others took advantage of the break to explore the rich aviation heritage of the National Aviation Heritage Area, culminating Wednesday afternoon in flights on one on of the vintage World War II bombers scheduled to fly in the air show.
A group of approximately 30 Thunderbirds took turns taking familiarization flights on the Champaign Aviation Museum’s B-25 bomber Champaign Gal Wednesday afternoon at historic Grimes Field Airport in Urbana. The twin-engine, bomber can carry six passengers at a time.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Thunderbirds members visited units of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, including the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center and the Wright Cycle Co.; Aviation Trail Inc.’s Parachute Museum; Dayton History’s Wright Brothers Aviation Center in Carillon Historical Park; Hawthorn Hill, the Wright family mansion in Oakwood, the National Aviation Hall of Fame and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
The National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA), the congressionally chartered nonprofit management entity for the heritage area, coordinated the tours with its heritage partners.
“This is the first time we’ve had the opportunity to show one of our premier military jet teams the aviation heritage in our heritage area,” said Tony Sculimbrene, NAHA executive director.
The National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) is a nonprofit chartered by Congress in 2004 as the management entity for the National Aviation Heritage Area, a region of national historical importance encompassing Montgomery, Greene, Miami, Clark, Warren, Champaign, Shelby, and Auglaize counties. The Heritage Area is one of 49 National Heritage Areas in a program administrated by the National Park Service, and the only one dedicated to aviation heritage. Visit aviationheritagearea.org for more information.