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December 17, 2019

116th Anniversary of Powered Flight Celebration

Aviation Trail Inc. held its annual celebration of the Anniversary of Powered Flight on Tuesday evening, December 17 at the Engineers Club of Dayton, 110 East Monument Ave. Dayton, OH 45402. (See photos and story from the event below).

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The event featured Brigadier General Paul Cooper (retired) presenting the topic of “Aviation in the Roaring 20’s”.

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As described by General Cooper: “Following the tremendous efforts of the Wright Brothers to create the first successful aircraft, many other inventors followed their lead.  The sky was seen as the new frontier. In World War I the airplane was recognized as not just a toy, but with many practicable uses.

In the 1920s, aviation made rapid strides as the public became air minded.  New companies were formed to manufacture aircraft and fly air mail and people.  Barnstormers and Hollywood films highlighted the public’s fascination with flying.  Aircraft evolved from the open cockpit, fabric covered bi-wing aircraft to the passenger aircraft that we are familiar with today.  The Roaring 20’s was an exciting time in the evolution of aviation”.

Brigadier General Paul R. Cooper retired in 2002 as commander of the Air Force Reserve’s 445th Airlift Wing, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.  He completed almost 35 years of military service with the United States Air Force and the Air Force Reserve.  He is past President of the University of Dayton’s senior Life Long Learning Institute and moderates courses in history and airpower.  He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Air Force Museum Foundation and conducts frequent tours as a docent. He has held a variety of key staff positions including chief of staff at two numbered air forces and has commanded three different air bases.


Recalled to active duty during Operation Desert Storm, he commanded a C-130 unit that deployed to the Middle East for six months. He was later selected to return to extended active duty in 1996 after the Dayton Peace Accords to command Tuzla NATO Air Base in Bosnia.  He is a command pilot with over 12,000 flying hours in jet aircraft.  His numerous decorations include: the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, 3 Legions of Merit, the Bronze Star, and 3 Air Medals.

As shown in the photos below: "Wilbear" Wright sat on the podium to witness the event. Aviation Trail President Marvin Christian welcomed guests to the event, followed by Aviation Trail Secretary Nancy Horlacher, who spoke about some of the Wright family history on this day. Aviation Trail trustee Col. Roger McClure gave a toast to those serving in our military. After the introduction of General Cooper, dinner was served. Guests enjoyed an excellent meal representing a Wright brother's family 1903 Christmas dinner, with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans, German cole slaw, mixed nuts, raisins, and spice cake. After dinner, General Cooper gave his presentation which was full of fascinating historical information and background on aviation in the 1920's, accompanied by slides and videos. Besides photos and stories on some well known events and aircraft, there were several rare photos of lesser known aircraft. After the presentation President Marvin Christian presented General Cooper with a lithograph of the 1903 Wright Flyer. It was a very impressive program, and the guests were treated to quite an education on the aviation history of the era. Aviation Trail thanks General Cooper, and all of the guests who attended in support of Aviation Trail.

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