Annual Wright Brothers Day celebrates innovative spirit on campus

Flight simulator

Featuring displays of innovative projects from Wright State researchers and local organizations, Wright Brothers Day takes place Thursday, Oct. 2, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. in the Student Union Atrium.

Wright State University will celebrate the innovative spirit of both of its namesakes and researchers currently working on campus with the fourth annual Wright Brothers Day.

Organized by the American Marketing Association Wright State University (AMAWSU), a student organization, the event takes place Thursday, Oct. 2, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Student Union Atrium.

Wright Brothers Day marks the anniversary of Wilbur Wright’s 39-minute flight on Huffman Prairie in 1905, demonstrating that the Wrights had advanced their design to the point of a practical airplane.

Brittany Davis, a senior marketing major and AMAWSU president, encouraged students to stop by Wright Brothers Day to learn about past and present innovations from Dayton.

“We enjoy celebrating past and present innovations and are excited for future innovations,” Davis said. “The Wright Brothers were not an ending to Dayton’s innovations but just a beginning. Dayton has continued to be a center for cutting edge-technologies which contribute to the whole world.”

The event will include historical and technology displays, food and a keynote address by Timothy Gaffney, director of communications at the National Aviation Heritage Area and author of a new book on the Wright brothers.

Wright brother impersonators Tom Benson and Roger Storm

Wright brother impersonators Tom Benson and Roger Storm, who work at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, will make an appearance at Wright Brothers Day.

Wright Brothers Day connects the Wright brothers’ innovative spirit with the same drive found on today’s campus. To highlight that spirit, the event will include displays featuring innovative projects from Wright State researchers and local organizations.

These include a planned Data Analytics and Visualization Environment lab, which will be dedicated to researching Big Data on the Raj Soin College of Business; a virtual environment demonstration by the College of Engineering and Computer Science; a smartphone health app, designed by Wright State’s Kno.e.sis; demonstrations on the basic principles of flight by the National Museum of the United States Air Force; and a simulator that allows a disabled person to drive from the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Wright State’s Special Collections and Archives, which houses one of the most complete collections of Wright material in the world, will have an exhibit on the Wright School of Aviation and its Exhibition Team. The exhibit will include original materials such as the original pilot log book of Charles Wald, one of their student pilots, and promotional materials published by the Wright Company.

Attendees will be able to tour Wright State Research Institute’s Mobile Test and Evaluation Center, a truck-and-trailer mobile test station for unmanned aerial systems. Wright brother impersonators Tom Benson and Roger Storm, who work at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, will also make an appearance.

Gaffney will deliver his keynote address at 11:15 a.m. He will discuss efforts by the National Aviation Heritage Area to restore the Wright brothers’ airplane factory. The two buildings that made up the Wright Company factory were the first in the United States built for producing airplanes.

Gaffney recently published a book on that factory and the Wright brothers, “The Dayton Flight Factory: The Wright Brothers and the Birth of Aviation.” The book uses historical research and today’s aviation heritage sites to retell the story of the Wright brothers from a hometown perspective.

The National Aviation Heritage Area is a federally designated national heritage area consolidating more than 15 aviation-related sites in an eight-county area around Dayton.

Wright Brothers Day was originally designed to raise awareness among students about the accomplishments of Wilbur and Orville Wright, who invented the airplane in their Dayton bicycle shop and conducted most of their early test flights on Huffman Prairie.

Brower Insurance is a sponsor of this year’s event.

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