The Wright “B” Flyer, a modern lookalike of the Wright brothers’ first production airplane, has short legs and is tiring to fly. Instead, the nonprofit organization’s volunteers will disassemble the 3,400-pound biplane, carefully load it into a custom trailer and have it hauled overland to Oshkosh, where the same scenario will play out in reverse to put it together and fly it.
Transporting the next-generation Wright “B” Flyer will be a much simpler affair. The organization is designing another one-of-kind flyer, this one designed for easy disassembly and scaled to fit in a standard shipping container that will allow the nonprofit to show and display the airplane worldwide.
Wright “B” Flyer Inc. has received more than $100,000 towards its $300,000 fundraising goal for the project, with a challenge grant to match up to another $50,000. The fundraising campaign recently advanced with the donation of a steel container by Benedict Tractor and Containers Inc. (BEI) of Monroe, Ohio. Wright “B” Flyer estimates the donation saved it more than $4,000.
“This container is exactly what we will need to represent America’s aviation heritage across the country and overseas. We’re extremely grateful for BEI’s support,” Wright “B” Flyer President William J. “Jay” Jabour said.
Like the current “B”, the new airplane will resemble the original, 1910-era Wright Model B Flyer, but it will use modern materials and meet modern safety standards, officials note.
It will be built at the original Wright Company factory in Dayton with support from the National Aviation Heritage Alliance and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). The factory is where the Wright brothers produced the first Model B flyers more than a century ago, launching America’s aviation industry.
In addition to the shipping container, Wright “B” Flyer’s “wish list” includes an engine, instruments, materials, tools, professional services and volunteers.
Wright “B” Flyer Inc. is an all-volunteer, 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit corporation that promotes Dayton’s aviation heritage by flying and displaying lookalikes of Wright Model B airplanes. It is based on Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport in Ohio, where its hangar-museum is open to the public at no charge from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.