Published: July 17, 2015
If you're a lover of aviation then Ohio is the promised land for history buffs and aviation enthusiasts alike. Whether you wish to follow the DNA of aviation with the Wright Brothers and their Wright Flyer or experience flight, this area is the place for aviation enthusiasts.
As aviation lovers ourselves, we highlight some of our favorite places to visit on what's known in this area as the Aviation Trail.
The Best Aviation Museums in Ohio
We have visited and investigated nearly every historical place in our own fascination of aviation - here is our list of top five aviation places to visit.
Simply put, this is a must visit whether you're a hard core or casual aviation buff. This museum is the largest and oldest aviation museum in the world! The history of aviation is showcased here through exhibits, photography, artifacts and over 400 aircraft on display. The museum showcases (naturally) the Wright Brothers amazing feats through supersonic and stealth flight technology. There are also nine presidential aircraft on display and the museum also offers an IMAX thetre and major aviation exhibits. This is one of our favorite places to visit... plan to be here for at least half a day - there's so much to take in!
Local Tip: Be sure to visit the National Aviation Hall of Fame also located at Air Force Museum.
It all began with a bicycle! The Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park is the location of the Wright Cycle Company - where it all began. It's a fascinating place that offers insights into the humble lives of Orville and Wilbur Wright who learned flight dynamics without any formal education but rather through intuition and experimentation. Also at this location (and naturally, one of our favorite displays) is the Aviation Trail Parachute Museum which tells the story of the development of the free fall parachute from its invention at Dayton's McCook Field after World War I, up to the vital role it plays in safely landing today's spacecraft.
The Carillon Historical Park showcases the rich history of Dayton, so it's not solely focused on the aviation element. What the Carillon Historical Park does have is the original 1905 Wright Flyer III. A sight to behold and a key part in the development of the modern airplane.
The WACO airfield hasn's changed much since the 1930s and 1940s. This working airfield had its heyday, during the mid-1920s through World War II during which the airplanes built at the WACO factory in Troy dominated the civilian airplane market. The WACO Airplane Museum includes airplanes, historic artifacts and photogrphs related to the WACO Aircraft Company and the aircraft it produced. There is also a learning center, vintage aircraft restoration area and library.
As opposed to the National Museum of the USAF with its broad examination view of aviation history, the Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center focuses exclusively on the Wright brothers' experimental flights conducted at this very airfield. This is truly where it all began and though this site doesn't have the pizzaz of other, bigger museums, it's as authentic as it can get and worth the visit.