The Caterpillar Club

Aviation Trail Parachute Museum Report:

Dayton McCook Field was the flight test center for the Army Air Service and did research and development of the parachute. Lt. Harold R. Harris was the first person to save himself by freefalling from a disabled airplane. He was also the first person inducted into the Caterpillar Club, for those aviators who save themselves from a disabled airplane by parachuting out of it. The Caterpillar Club is named for the insects that spun the silk fiber used in parachutes at the time. Members now include Charles Lindbergh, General Jimmy Doolittle, President George H.W. Bush, Col. John Glenn and many other pilots – over 100,000 to date. The Caterpillar Club was thought to have been started by Leslie Irvin the very first person to freefall from an aircraft by intent in 1919.

Photos: above - visitors at the Parachute Museum display

below - the Caterpillar Club pin displayed at the museum

The Aviation Trail Parachute Museum is Site #1b on the Aviation Trail

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COVID-19 Closure Updates

The Wright - Dunbar interpretive Center & Aviation Trail Visitor Center Open as of April 21: Status of Aviation Trail sites regarding visitors during the COVID-19 precautions - Updated: Apr 21, 2021 D


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.


Aviation Trail, Inc.

- In Partnership with the National Park Service


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