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 -
for story on Parachute Museum Interviews with Industry Leaders .
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).
In 2015 The Parachute Museum is celebrating its fifth 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:
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.
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