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In Memoriam - Passing of Aviation Trail Board Member
Dayton, Ohio - June  21, 2020

Aviation Trail mourns the death of  Dr. Clark Beck who passed away on June 14, 2020. Dr. Beck served on the Board of Trustees of Aviation Trail for many years. He held a Masters degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Cincinnati, as well as an honorary doctorate. He had a long career as a civilian research engineer at WPAFB, and also with Wright State University, where he  started the Wright STEPP program, a Science, Technology, and Engineering Preparatory Program.

In 2014 he was inducted into the Dayton Region Walk of Fame - see the story on an Aviation Trail blog entry at this link: 

His obituary, with more information on his career can be seen at:

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Aviation Trail President Marvin Christian had these words to reflect on Dr. Beck's contributions: 

"What a life he led and what a gentleman he was. Clark Beck’s lifetime history was truly amazing. Always thoughtful and to the point in his active years he was a strong supporter of ATI’s activities. At his Walk of Fame induction he just beamed at the mention of Aviation Trail. Clark’s spirit will be missed. Godspeed my friend". 

June 15, 2020, Dayton, Ohio

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DAYTON – The Walk of Fame induction class of 2020 offers a first-class mix of individuals with outstanding achievements in the categories of Arts, Culture, Education, Invention, Science, Military, Community Service, Significant Personal Achievement, Entertainment, Media and Philanthropy.      


“We have another year of outstanding inductees,” said Harry Seifert, president and CEO of Wright Dunbar, Inc. “They are all excellent examples of the exceptional people who made great strides in their personal lives and have remembered the Miami Valley as their home.” 

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The 2020 class of inductees are:

Hallie Quinn Brown,

William Hale Charch,

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine,

John Legend, and

AFC William H. Pitsenbarger.  


Hallie Quinn Brown (1850 – 1949) an educator, author, elocutionist, historian, civil rights reformer and women’s rights advocate during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The daughter of former slaves, she attended Wilberforce University graduating in 1873. She became a teacher and later became a dean at Allen University and the Tuskegee Institute. After attending the Boston School of Oratory, she became an accomplished speaker, travelling nationally and internationally to speak on topics of African-American Folklore and Song to Civil Rights and the Temperance Movement. For ten years she served as professor of elocution at Wilberforce University and was a leader in fundraising for the college. She helped to establish the National Association of Colored Women where she served as president for four years and as honorary president for the remainder of her life. She also served as president of the Ohio State Federation of Women’s Clubs for seven years. The Hallie Q. Brown Community Center in St. Paul, MN is named for her as is the library at Central State University. Ms. Brown is buried at Massie’s Creek Cemetery in Cedarville, Ohio.


William Hale Charch (1898 – 1958) this inventor and scientist gave us one of the most innovative food storage creations of the twentieth century: moisture proof cellophane. The cellophane he invented was a translucent natural plastic film made to protect and preserve food from air, moisture and bacteria, thereby revolutionizing food storage, safety and cleanliness. Working for the DuPont Corporation, he tested more than 2,000 formulas before devising a workable process to manufacture the new product. By 1927, DuPont was selling more than $3.7 million worth of cellophane. During World War II, cellophane was classified as an “essential material” used for the packaging of G.I. rations. Charch then spent the remainder of his career at DuPont contributing to the development of Teflon, Orlon, Dacron and Lycra. William Hale Charch was born in Dayton, graduated from Stivers High School, earned a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at Miami University and a Doctorate’s degree in organic Chemistry from Ohio State University. Mr. Charch is buried in Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum in Dayton, Ohio.


Mike DeWine (1947 -  ) Greene County Prosecutor, Ohio State Senator, U.S. Representative, Lt. Governor, U.S. Senator, Attorney General and Governor. Mike DeWine has worked tirelessly to preserve and share the rich heritage of the greater Dayton area. His work includes the support of major projects at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center and the Air Force Institute of Technology, the Energy Department in Miamisburg, the creation of the National Aviation Heritage National Historical Park and the National Aviation Heritage Area, and the Wright Dunbar Main Street Program. Gov. DeWine has been on the front lines of helping children and the disadvantaged by launching the Crimes Against Children Initiative, combating the opioid crisis, reducing the time for DNA testing supporting criminal investigations, passing strict drunk driving laws and improving education for increased job opportunities. Mike DeWine graduated from Yellow Springs High School, married his childhood sweetheart, and received a bachelor’s degree from Miami University and a juris doctor’s degree from Ohio Northern University Law School. He maintains a home in Cedarville where he entertains many from around the state of Ohio at his annual ice cream social. 


John Legend (1978 -  ) singer, songwriter, artist and entertainer. John Legend was born in Springfield, Ohio and began playing the piano at age four. He graduated from Springfield North High School and attended the University of Pennsylvania. He began his career in New York nightclubs and soon found himself collaborating with the best of R & B and hip-hop artists. In 2018, Legend became one of the youngest Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony (EGOT) winners and made history as the first African-American man to win all four awards. Overall, Legend has won 25 awards from 70 nominations which include 10 Grammys. John’s foundation, the Show Me Campaign, seeks to give every child access to quality education and to elevate and celebrate teachers, the single most important factor for student achievement in our schools. The campaign also works to end the school-to prison pipeline and to address systemic issues in our criminal justice system that disproportionately impact the poor, minorities and disadvantaged. John Legend has performed concerts and lent his name to world-wide charitable efforts in support of equal access to educational opportunities, HIV/AIDS awareness, disaster relief and advocacy for troops and veterans and much, much more. His support of the Springfield community is evident through benefit concerts and performances for the Springfield City School District, the Springfield Center for Innovation: The Dome and victims of the Oregon District mass shooting. John Legend has made a huge humanitarian impact regionally, nationally, and internationally. His light will only continue to shine brighter and more intensely in the coming years.

William H. Pitsenbarger (1944 – 1966) Airman First Class, USAF. Born and raised in Piqua, Ohio, William tried to enlist in the U.S. Army as a Green Beret during his junior year of high school but his parents refused to give their permission. After he graduated from high school, he joined the Air Force and in 1962 found himself on a train bound for Air Force basic training. Airman Pitsenbarger volunteered for Pararescue and was trained and assigned to the Rescue Squadron based at Hamilton AFB, California. He served a temporary duty in Vietnam and then volunteered to return. He received orders in 1965 to report to the 38th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron at Bien Hoa Air Base in Saigon. On May 11, 1966 near Cam My, Airman Pitsenbarger was aboard a rescue helicopter responding to a call for evacuation of casualties. Pitsenbarger rode a hoist to the ground where he coordinated rescue efforts, cared for the wounded, and prepared casualties for evacuation. Airman Pitsenbarger stayed behind to perform medical duties during a period of heavy assault by a large Viet Cong force. He courageously resisted the enemy, distributed vital ammunition to his fellow soldiers, repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire and returned fire whenever he could. Airman Pitsenbarger was fatally shot and perished while saving the lives of wounded soldiers on the ground. For his courage and gallantry, Airman First Class William H. Pitsenbarger was posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross. In 2008, his family accepted the Congressional Medal of Honor from the Secretary of the Air Force. William Pitsenbarger is buried in Miami Memorial Park Cemetery in Covington, Ohio.


Induction Ceremony Postponed

As the Coronavirus (COVID -19) continues to impact our local area, state and country, we regret to announce the postponement of the 2020 Walk of Fame Inductees Luncheon. It is through an abundance of caution for our honorees, staff, volunteers, guests, patrons, and supporters that we have decided to postpone the induction ceremony until 2021. We will update our webpage with information as it becomes available. In the meantime, we are currently accepting sponsorships for the 2021 event giving our sponsors additional promotion time for their patronage. More information can be found at Nomination forms for the 2022 Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony are currently being accepted. You can find the form at the Walk of Fame website and at

We thank you in advance for supporting Wright Dunbar, Inc. and the programs we offer to the community. Now, more than ever, your support is important to keep our mission of neighborhood revitalization alive in the historic Wright Dunbar Neighborhood.


About the Walk of Fame and Wright Dunbar, Inc.

Since its inception in 1996 as a part of the City of Dayton’s bicentennial celebration, the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame has recognized individuals and groups for their outstanding and enduring personal or professional contributions to the community, nation and the world. The Walk of Fame honors them by setting memorial stones in the sidewalks of Dayton’s historic Wright-Dunbar District. The stones can be enjoyed year-round on West Third Street between Broadway and Shannon and on North and South Williams Streets.


Wright Dunbar, Inc., a private non-profit organization, serves as a catalyst for economic development on
West Third Street and manages the Walk of Fame as part of its mission in Dayton’s historic West Third Street Corridor in the neighborhood of Wilbur and Orville Wright and Paul Laurence Dunbar.


For more photos of Airman First Class Pitsenbarger, see the "Aviation Blog" page on this website.

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March, 2020

“Girl on the Wing”

Patty Wagner, FAA Master Pilot, and air show legend, was one of the inductees into the Women In Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame at the 31st Annual International Women in Aviation Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on March 7.

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WAI Video

In addition to her piloting experience, Patty was famous as the “Girl on the Wing” – a wing-walker on the international air show circuit for some 30 years, with her husband Bob who piloted their Stearman biplane. They have flown in all 50 states and performed in 47 states, as well as British Columbia, Quebec, every Canadian province in between, and in South America.

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Just last year, in May of 2019 the FAA had presented her with the The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, which recognizes professionalism, skill and aviation expertise as an accident-free career pilot for at least 50 years.


Patty Wagner receiving the FAA award in 2019

Patty Wagner at the Hall of Fame induction 

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The Women In Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame honors women who have made significant contributions as record setters, pioneers, or innovators in the aviation and aerospace industries. This year’s Women in Aviation award recognizes Patty for her contributions to aviation, and puts her on a hall of fame list that includes names like Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman, Harriet Quimby, and Sally Ride. In addition to Patty Wagner, the other inductees in the 2020 class are Maj. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt, the service’s first female fighter pilot and U.S. Army’s First Women Rotary Wing Aviators, a group of nine female helicopter pilots who represent the first women in rotary wing aviation to serve in the U.S. Army. The WIA has been presenting the Pioneer Hall of Fame award since 1992.

Patty currently volunteers her time to many aviation organizations, including Women in Aviation, and serves on the Board of Trustees of Aviation Trail, Inc., WACO Historical Society, OX5 Aviation Pioneers, and Moraine Air Park.

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January 18, 2020 - Dayton, Ohio

The National Aviation Heritage Area (NAHA) Board met with Rep. Mike Turner and Sen. Rob Portman in the Aviation Trail Conference room. The discussion covered the U.S. Senate's passing of  extended funding of NAHA through September of 2022. The meeting included  TV interviews and a tour of the Aviation Trail and the Dayton Aviation Heritage Nationa Historical Park Visitor Center. NAHA’s new brochures and map were also distributed. See below for the Senate press release about the passing of the legislation.

United States Senate Press Release

Tuesday, December 19, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Today, U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced the Senate passage of the final FY2020 funding bill, which includes their legislation to reauthorize funding for Dayton's National Aviation Heritage Area (NAHA) through September 30, 2022. NAHA spans eight counties throughout western Ohio, with a large presence in Dayton, the home of the Wright Brothers.  There are a variety of cultural sites within the NAHA, including the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Park, Armstrong Air and Space Museum, Paul Laurence Dunbar State Memorial, Huffman Prairie Flying Field, and Grimes Flying Field, as well as resources related to the Wright Brothers.

“The National Aviation Heritage Area in Dayton is home to our nation’s aviation history and I am proud the Senate-passed FY 2020 funding bill includes legislation to help ensure it is preserved and enjoyed by future generations," said Portman. “It tells the story of the Wright Brothers’ development of the first airplane, which has led to a strong aviation industry in the region today. This site is a public-private partnership that has also generated economic growth in the region".

"The pioneering spirit of Paul Laurence dunbar and the Wright Brothers is reflected today in Dayton's National Aiation Heritage Area. It's a privilege to represent a state that has and continues to play such an important role in the aviation sector. I'm proud to stand with Senator Portman in our effort to ensure that federal investment in the National Aviation Heritage Area will continue," said Brown.

As of April 2018, the National Aviation Heritage Area has more than two million visitors annually, generating $35 million in economic impact and supporting 1,500 jobs in the region.

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Floyd Smith Announced as National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductee
Las Vegas, NV - Januaury 7, 2020

On January 7, twenty-two innovation pioneers were announced as the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) 2020 class of Inductees on stage at CES® (the Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. One of the historical inductees (awarded posthumously), Floyd Smith, developed his invention at historic McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio. The awards will be presented during NIHF ceremonies on May 7 & 8, 2020. See for event information.

Near the end of WWI the US Army put together a parachute research group that came under the Engineering Division at McCook Field in Dayton. Their job was to develop a practical parachute for in-flight escape from fixed wing aircraft. They drafted requirements and tested all the existing parachutes they could but none met their requirements. At the same time they also were working on their own design, based largely on Floyd Smith’s concept for a manually operated free-fall parachute. The pilot would wear the chute, climb out and jump away from the airplane, then manually operate the parachute once safely away from the plane.

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Shown in the photo is Floyd Smith wearing the prototype Model A, which was the first practical system for inflight escape from fixed wing aircraft. The chute was initially live jumped by Leslie Irvin in April of 1919 and was soon standardized and eventually required for use by Army pilots.

Learn more about Floyd Smith:

A trapeze artist turned aviator, Smith's invention of the modern parachute led to the creation of the parachute industry and provided safe landings across the world, saving countless lives.

See the story on the National Inventors Hall of Fame website at and be sure to click on the "10 Things You Need to Know about Floyd Smith" on that page for more details about this fascinating aviation innovator.

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Learn more about Parachute History:

CLICK HERE to download a copy of a Speaker Series presentation on the history of the parachute that was produced by the Aviation Trail Parachute Museum team. And be sure to explore the Parachute Museum page on this ATI website.


Collins Aerospace and WACO Air Museum & Learning Center Partnership
Januaury 2, 2020
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WACO is pleased to announce a gift of $32,600 by Collins Aerospace that will support Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in the community through a new flight simulation lab located inside the new 17,000 square-foot WACO Learning Center.  The Collins Aerospace Flight Simulator Lab will immediately house four desktop flight simulators complete with yoke and rudders as well as a certified Elite Flight Simulator that can be used to log hours towards both private and instrument ratings for pilots.  The lab will have the potential for additional simulators to be added at a later date.


At a ceremony Tuesday, December 17th, the donation was accepted by WACO Air Museum’s Directors, Gretchen Hawk and Nancy Royer, along with the WACO Board of Trustees. Cory May, Vice President of Aftermarket for Landing Systems at Collins Aerospace, made the presentation in front of perhaps the most famous WACO in the world-- the WACO Model ATO Taperwing.  This aircraft rolled out of the Troy-based WACO Aircraft Company in 1929 and won the 1936 International Air Games in Paris in 1936.  This airplane was donated to the museum in 1996 by the Goodrich Aircraft Wheels & Brakes Division, now part of Collins Aerospace, and is one of the museum’s most prized possessions.

Collins Aerospace now manufactures wheels and brakes in a building that was originally built as the WACO Aircraft Company. The WACO Aircraft Company was the number one manufacturer of civil aircraft in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. 

Sharing a historic building and a famous airplane are not the only thing the two entities have in common.  They share a vision to invest in the future of the Troy community.  WACO’s goal is to “Preserve the Past, and Inspire the Future.” Collins Aerospace recently announced its new corporate social responsibility program called Redefining Futures.  The company plans to increase its impact locally and globally by aligning volunteer activities, civic leadership and corporate giving around three pillars: 1) inspiring youth to pursue opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) 2) investing in the industry’s current and future workforce and 3) strengthening local communities.

“The combining factors of being in the same community, a shared history, and a shared vision for the future make this a perfect collaboration,” commented Learning Center Director Nancy Royer.  “WACO has STEM education programming for as young as pre-school and programming that continues all the way through adult education. I believe this donation is a declaration to both the local community and to the aviation industry of our shared vision to inspire the future.  Together, we will shape a better future!”


Nancy Royer                                                      Cory May                                             Stacey Kinnison
WACO Learning Center Director                      VP of Aftermarket                           Executive Assistant
937-335-9226                                                     937-440-2396                                     937-440-2492                         

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