DAYTON, Ohio — Members of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds jet team toured Wright brothers’ sites and flew in a World War II bomber Tuesday and Wednesday while in the area for the Vectren Dayton Air Show, slated for June 24-25, 2017.
An earlier-than-usual arrival at Dayton International Airport for the weekend air show gave the 65-member team some free time. Pilots and several others took advantage of the break to explore the aviation heritage of the National Aviation Heritage Area, culminating Wednesday afternoon in flights on one on of the vintage World War II bombers scheduled to fly in the air show.
A group of approximately 30 Thunderbirds took turns taking familiarization flights on the Champaign Aviation Museum’s B-25 bomber Champaign Gal Wednesday afternoon at historic Grimes Field Airport in Urbana. The twin-engine bomber can carry six passengers at a time.On Tuesday and Wednesday, Thunderbirds members visited several sites of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, including the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center and the Wright Cycle Co.; Aviation Trail Inc.’s Parachute Museum; Dayton History’s Wright Brothers Aviation Center in Carillon Historical Park; Hawthorn Hill, the Wright family mansion in Oakwood; the National Aviation Hall of Fame and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
The National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA), the congressionally chartered nonprofit management entity for the heritage area, coordinated the tours with its heritage partners.
“This is the first time we’ve had the opportunity to show one of our premier military jet teams the aviation heritage in our heritage area,” said Tony Sculimbrene, NAHA executive director.