Aviation enthusiasts consider AirVenture the premiere general aviation event of the year. Combining EAA’s annual convention with daily air shows and trade expos, the week-long event typically draws 500,000 or more visits, many by people flying their own aircraft. EAA is an international organization of amateur aircraft builders and aviation enthusiasts.
Paul Woodruff, Wright-Patterson’s historic preservation officer, said the AirVenture exhibit is intended to educate a national audience about America’s largest and oldest air base. “We go back to 1905,” when the Wright brothers began using Huffman Prairie for flying experiments, said Woodruff, who will present a speaker’s program at AirVenture. Huffman Prairie is now a part of Wright-Patterson.
Under an agreement between the Air Force and the National Park Service, Wright-Patterson makes the prairie accessible to the public as a unit of the national park. The national park also also operates the Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center at the Wright Brothers Memorial, which overlooks the flying field.
Wright-Patterson is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year because its roots are in three installations the U.S. Army created in 1917 as the United States entered World War I—McCook Field, Wilbur Wright Field and the Fairfield Aviation General Supply Depot.
The Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park was established in 1992 to preserve and share the world-changing history of the invention, development and commercialization of the airplane by Wilbur and Orville Wright in Dayton.
The Champaign Aviation Museum honors World War II veterans by flying and displaying World War II-era airplanes, and volunteers are building a Boeing B-17 bomber from parts of several other airplanes, but with many parts built from scratch based on original Boeing drawings.