Parachute Museum


The Aviation Trail Parachute Museum is located on the second floor of the Aviation Trail Visitor Center. The Museum tells the story of the development of the free fall parachute from its invention at Dayton’s McCook Field after World War I, up to the vital role it plays in safely landing today’s spacecraft. The time line around the soffit of the exhibit space highlights significant events in the history of the parachute. The Museum also includes interactive exhibits, artifacts, historic photographs and text.

The research materials permanently housed at Wright State University may be viewed at this link -

  click here for WSU archives materials.


The Parachute Museum in reviewing our collection on a regular basis, encourages donations to the museum. Objects are accessioned based on our acceptance policy which can be seen by downloading this document (new object consideration policy).


for story on Parachute Museum Interviews with Industry Leaders .

Tenth Anniversary:

In 2020 The Parachute Museum celebrated its tenth year of being open to the public as part of the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center. An article on the anniversary is can be found on the Aviation Blog page:

para mus theater artwork.jpg

Introducing Parachute Museum Theater

The Parachute Museum Theater presents a series of videos highlighting events and milestones in the history of the parachute. CLICK HERE (or on the logo) to be ushered into the Theater and see the first story in the series - The Harold Harris Story about the first emergency free fall parachute jump. New videos will be added periodically.

Presented by the Aviation Trail Parachute Museum


Parachute Museum Interviews

Video Series of Interviews with Industry Leaders 

These videos are a series of interviews with some of the parachute engineers scientists and developers who have been responsible for the most significant and advanced parachute systems of the last half-century and was created by the Aviation Trail Parachute Museum in Dayton Ohio in June 2017 at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics forum as part of the Advanced Decelerator Conference.


Chuck Lowry ( is interviewed by

Aviation Trail Vice President Steve Brown

About the Interviews: Every two years the Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems Committee of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics holds a conference of the national and international parachute technical community. This conference assembles the premier people and organizations involved in commercial, military and space parachute research and development. In June 2017 the 24th AIAA decelerator conference was held in Denver, CO. Through the cooperation of the AIAA Decelerator Tech Committee and the Aviation Trail, Inc, Dave Gold Parachute Museum Committee a series of interviews of some of the most experienced parachute engineers, scientists and managers were conducted at the conference to capture an oral history of parachute development over the last several decades. Chuck Lowery acting as liaison with the Decelerator committee, himself an interviewee, and Steve Brown of the museum committee facilitated the interviews at the conference. The eleven individuals included Mr. Chuck Lowry, Mr. Koki Machin, Mr. Rob Sinclair, Mr. Phil Delurgio, Dr. Carl Peterson, Mr. Ed Vickery, Ms. Elsa Hennings, Mr. John Watkins, Mr. Ben Tutt, Dr. Dean Wolf, and Mr. Dik Farhall. These individuals represent approximately four and a quarter centuries of parachute development experience. Seven of the interviewees; Hennings, Sinclair, Vickery, Lowry, Delurgio, Wolf and Peterson, are recipients of the Theodor W. Knacke Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems Award; which is the highest award given by the AIAA for significant contributions to aerodynamic decelerator technology. The interviews were based on the same series of questions to each interviewee and it is clear that there are a few themes that come out in many of the interviews. Many of the interviewees were friends with, or worked at some time with Theo Knacke, an internationally known parachute engineer who had a great deal of impact on the parachute community, and whom after the Knacke award is named. All have seen the advent of computers and continuous improvement of analytical methods as one of the biggest factors that has influenced the parachute industry through their careers; and yet most have indicated that computer methods alone are still not enough; parachute engineers have to be familiar with hardware and need a practical understanding of parachute performance to balance, and validate results obtained from analytical methods. In addition, the advent of new materials has also been seen to have made a big impact on parachute development over the years. The parachute technology community is relatively small compared to other technical communities and many of the individuals are colleagues, who, even though they may work for different organizations, have collaborated to some degree on common programs. What follows are a series of interviews of parachute developers who have been responsible for the most significant and advanced parachute systems of the last half century.

Presentation photo.jpg

Speaker Series

On June 4, 2018 the team from the Parachute Museum hosted a Speaker Series presentation on the history of the parachute at the Wright Brothers Memorial and Huffman Prairie Interpretive Center. Click on the photo for a pdf file of this fascinating look into history. 

Aviation Trail Visitor Center & 

Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center

Corner of W. Third & S Williams Sts. 

16 S. Williams St. 

Dayton, OH 45402

(937) 225-7705


Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park 

16 S. Williams St., Dayton, OH 45402

Visitor Center:

For details and seasonal date schedules see

or please call (937) 225-7705 for the current park schedule.


From W. Third St., turn south on Williams St and then turn left on Fourth St. Go 1/2 block and turn left into the Visitor Center parking area.

CLICK HERE for a parking map.

See the Visitor Center page for details on hours

and for a larger map.

Travel Note - Third St. Bridge closure:

The Third Street Bridge will be CLOSED beginning Jan. 1, 2020 until approximately Oct. 2021. Visitors can use the Fifth St. Bridge or the Salem Ave. Bridge as detours from downtown Dayton. A file with more detailed instructions for visitors traveling from the north or south via I-75, or from the east and west via US35 can be downloaded by CLICKING HERE.


Aviation Trail, Inc.

- In Partnership with the National Park Service


Subscribe to "The Flight Log", the ATI electronic Newsletter, for updates and announcements

Aviation Trail does not sell, share, or distribute subscriber information to third parties.

  • Facebook Social Icon

Follow Aviation Trail

Follow Parachute Museum


wilbear for trademark_b.jpg


Volunteer logo_w ATI logo.jpg

© Aviation Trail, Inc.