January in Aviation History

The first successful landing of a fixed wing aircraft on a ship took place on January 18, 1911 when aviation pioneer Eugene Ely set his Curtiss Model D Pusher down on a platform on the armored cruiser USS Pennsylvania in San Francisco Bay. It was also the first flight using a tail hook system. About two months earlier, on November 14, 2010, he had completed the first successful take off from a vessel when he flew from a wooden platform built on the bow of the USS Birmingham in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Earlier in 1910, Ely had started flying exhibitions for Glenn Curtiss. Curtiss was an advocate of the potential for military aviation, and drew the attention of US Navy Captain Washington Chambers, who was exploring this potential. Ely volunteered for the experiments, and went on to establish his legacy with these two historic flights. He continued to fly exhibitions, and was known for a daredevil style, which thrilled spectators. Just two days short of his 25th birthday, he crashed at an exhibition in Macon, Georgia, and was killed. Both Eugene Ely and Glenn Curtiss are enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame.

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COVID-19 Closure Updates

Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center is Open as of May 12: Status of Aviation Trail sites regarding visitors during the COVID-19 precautions - Updated: May 12, 2021. The Wright-Dunbar/Avi


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.

See the Visitor Center page for details on hours and for a map.


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.

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.


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- In Partnership with the National Park Service


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