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Proposed Wright Brothers Monument Moves Forward
June 12, 2013
A towering monument to the Wright brothers, near Dayton, OH is one step closer to becoming a reality following the successful completion of wing tunnel tests of a model of the Wright Flyer III replica aircraft that would sit atop a 250-foot-high pedestal.
Those tests were conducted at Ohio State University, according to Curt Nelson, spokesman for the Wright Image Group, the nonprofit that aims to build the monument. The tests indicated that the replica aircraft would be able to withstand winds of 200-plus miles per hour (an EF-5 tornado), he said.
The model tested had a four-foot wingspan, compared to the 144-foot wingspan of the stainless-steel replica aircraft. The Wright Image Group now plans to conduct wind tunnel tests with a larger model atop a pedestal. Once that milestone is achieved, the group could begin construction of the monument, if funding permits.
The group has raised about $1 million in money, land and architectural services and needs to raise another $11 million to finish the project.
The monument would be located at the intersection of two major highways – I-70 and I-75 – and would be visible for miles. It would not only pay tribute to the Wright brothers, but also help promote Dayton as an aviation center and hopefully attract more aviation companies and jobs, Nelson said.
Although Orville and Wilbur Wright famously achieved the first successful airplane flights with their Wright Flyer I in 1903 near Kitty Hawk, NC, the aircraft had major stability and control problems and could not stay aloft for long, Nelson explained. In 1905, at Huffman Prairie near Dayton, the Wright Flyer III flew for 39 minutes, becoming the first sustainable, controllable self-propelled airplane, thus launching the worldwide aviation industry.
“Everyone in the aviation industry owes a little debt of gratitude to what the Wright brothers accomplished way back when,” Nelson said.
Bob Quinn, NBAA’s central regional representative, agreed. “Because of the Wright brothers, Ohio established an aviation industry early. That legacy continues to reinforce the important contribution aviation makes to Ohio’s economy today.”
The monument effort enjoys the backing of Amanda Wright Lane, great grandniece to the Wright brothers, who is a board member of the Wright Image Group.
"The Wright Flyer monument will not only mark the spot where the aviation industry began, but it will also be a soaring reminder of the technology that changed the world for all time,” Lane said.