DAYTON, Ohio — Each fall most of us remember to set our clocks back an hour as daylight savings time comes to an end. However, this fall there will be a special opportunity to turn back the clock 100 years to the start of World War I and experience an historical aviation event unlike any other during the WWI Dawn Patrol Rendezvous, Sept. 27-28, at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
If vintage aircraft are what you enjoy, this event features reproduction full-scale and 7/8-scale aircraft, such as the Nieuport, SE-5 and Fokker Dr. I triplanes, with pilots launching and landing their aircraft on the field behind the museum.
Visitors will be able to speak to pilots and get an up-close look at these aircraft, and aircraft computer simulators will be available for those who want the experience of flying a WWI aircraft.
When the full-scale aircraft take a break from flying, more than 100 WWI-era radio-controlled model aircraft will take to the skies to entertain, museum officials said. Authentic miniature aircraft, some as large as 1/2 scale, will perform simulated dogfights, demonstrate formation flying and bomb dropping, and other missions typical of the Great War.
But the WWI Dawn Patrol Rendezvous has much more to offer than just aircraft, with over 60 reenactors performing skits in a war encampment, more than 20 antique automobiles on display and participating in a parade, and a collector’s show for WWI items.
New to the event this year is an above-ground trench, which will serve as the entrance and exit point to the grounds and provide visitors with a feel for how trench warfare was conducted in the early 20th century.
In addition an activities tent will feature Buckeye Gamers in Flight’s WWI giant board game, “Wings of Glory,” which provides participants with a better understanding of the war in Europe and the number of countries involved.
Museum staff and volunteers will also present educational programs for all ages based on American history during the war, and seven WWI authors will serve as guest speakers throughout the weekend.
A complete listing of guest speakers and topics is available here.
According to Museum Special Events Coordinator David Thomas, this event is truly unique.
“The WWI Dawn Patrol Rendezvous is the only large-scale WWI event of its kind in the country and perhaps even the world,” said Thomas. “This one-of-a-kind event brings a number of different entities together — from the aircraft, to the reenactors, antique automobiles, activities and vendors — and for one weekend re-creates the days of WWI.”
Gates will be open Sept. 27-28 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission and parking are free, and food and merchandise will be available for sale.
The 2014 WWI Dawn Patrol Rendezvous will be the ninth event offered by the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force and the Great War Aeroplanes Association. The last WWI Dawn Patrol Rendezvous took place in the fall of 2011.
In addition to the flying event, the museum has launched a WWI anniversary page on its website. Each week through 2018, a WWI-related artifact will be featured, along with links to other online resources. Visit www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/research/ww100.asp to learn more.
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, is the world’s largest military aviation museum. With free admission and parking, the museum features more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of artifacts amid more than 17 acres of indoor exhibit space. Each year about 1 million visitors from around the world come to the museum. For more information: www.nationalmuseum.af.mil