Freefall Centennial

Parachutist magazine article highlights

Dayton's McCook Field and

freefall parachute history

Parachutist is the official publication of the U.S. Parachute Association.

An article in the April 2019 issue of Parachutist magazine entitled "It all started in Dayton", by Ann Armstrong Ingoldsby, relates the story of the first freefall skydive that occurred 100 years ago this month. Read about McCook Field, Leslie Irving, and James Floyd Smith by clicking this link to the Parachutist online magazine:

(There is also a link in the article to the Parachutist archives with a story on the 50th anniversary of freefall in 1969).

To learn more about parachute history, visit the Aviation Trail Parachute Museum in Dayton (see the Aviation Trail website Parachute Museum page).

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COVID-19 Closure Updates

Status of Aviation Trail sites regarding visitors during the COVID-19 precautions: Status on Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park buildings as of December 3. All indoor facilities closed.


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.

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


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