Commentary: Armstrong continued Ohio’s aviation leadership

Published: Sunday, August 26, 2012 @ 11:59 PM
Updated: Sunday, August 26, 2012 @ 11:59 PM

Ohioan Neil Armstrong was a brilliant engineer, an exceptionally skillful pilot and a tireless, if quiet, advocate for aviation and space exploration.

As global transportation erodes borders, it matters less what state and even what nation we live in. But for now, it matters a lot that the first human footprint off the earth was made by a Buckeye.

Armstrong’s powerful intellect, his pioneering spirit and his sense of duty exemplified the qualities Ohioans prize. They’re the same qualities that marked Wilbur and Orville Wright — the Dayton brothers who invented, perfected and patented the airplane in Ohio.

Armstrong always stressed that he and Buzz Aldrin didn’t make the first moon landing on their own. It took an army of people, and Ohioans played vital roles.

Apollo 11’s Saturn V rocket rode from its assembly building to the launchpad on the back of a gigantic crawler that was designed and manufactured by the Marion (Ohio) Power Shovel Company.

The Saturn rocket’s upper-stage engines burned high-energy liquid hydrogen, technology developed at NASA’s Lewis (now Glenn) Research Center in Cleveland.

Ohio has been an aviation powerhouse since the Wright brothers built the first purpose-built airplane factory on Dayton’s West Third Street more than a century ago.

Ohioans have been responsible for so much aviation heritage that the eight-county region around Dayton is designated a National Aviation Heritage Area. The aerospace industry is one of the driving forces in the state’s economy.

Last May Dayton’s Woodland Cemetery marked the 100th anniversary of Wilbur Wright’s death. Armstrong agreed to speak, but not as the first man on the moon or even former astronaut.

“ ‘Astronaut’ is just anyone who has been above a certain altitude regardless of their occupation. So I don’t look on it as particularly important,” he wrote in an email to Amanda Wright Lane, a great-grandniece of the Wright brothers and one of the event’s organizers. Instead, he wrote, “I would just suggest ‘Engineer and Flyer.’ ” That’s how the program billed him.

Armstrong also sought no publicity on a cold December day in 2007 when he went to Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport for a bone-chilling ride on the Wright “B” Flyer, a lookalike of a 1911 Wright airplane.

After several hops down the runway in the open-air machine, Armstrong’s face was lobster-red. The 77-year-old aviator warmed up in the hangar and then asked to go again, this time up and away from the airport where he could really fly it.

Wilbur once promoted Ohio as the ideal place to be born.

“If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, “ he said in 1910, “I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.”

Thanks to Armstrong, the Wright brothers and many others, Ohio remains a major source of aviation research. That is as fitting a legacy as any for an Engineer and Flyer.

 

Tim Gaffney is a media relations professional, a trustee for several local aviation organizations and a retired Dayton Daily News staff writer.

Honolulu bans smokers in cars when children are present

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 5:55 AM

Smoking while driving is now illegal in Honolulu if there are minors in the vehicle.
Heritage Images/Getty Images
Smoking while driving is now illegal in Honolulu if there are minors in the vehicle.(Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Smoking in a car in Honolulu can bring a hefty fine if there are children in the vehicle, KHON reported.

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In a unanimous vote Wednesday, the Honolulu City Council passed a bill that would make it illegal to smoke in a vehicle if someone under 18 is in inside. The ban also extends to electronic cigarettes, KHON reported.

First offenders would be fined $100, and the fee jumps to $200 if a smoker is cited within a year. A third offense within a year of the second offense would cost the smoker $500, KHON reported. 

The ticket would be issued to the person smoking in the vehicle.

Lila Johnson, program manager for tobacco prevention at the Department of Health, says youths are the most vulnerable to be exposed to secondhand smoke.

“It is probably 10 times as toxic as it is to be sitting inside a smoky bar for a child to be sitting inside a confined unit exposed to secondhand smoke,” Johnson said.

Health officials said drivers are permitted to smoke as long as there are no minor in the vehicle, KHON reported.

1 flown to hospital in crash that closes I-75N in Shelby County

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 6:01 PM
Updated: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 6:25 PM

UPDATE @ 6:25 p.m.

The northbound lanes of Interstate 75 are back open at Ohio 274 near Botkins in Shelby County.

The vehicle in the crash is off the side of the highway, but traffic remains backed up.

A medical helicopter took one person to an area hospital.

FIRST REPORT

The northbound lanes of Interstate 75 are shut down this evening near Botkins in Shelby County.

The highway is closed at I-75 N at Ohio 274.

A medical helicopter has been called to the crash scene, and the crash resulted in significant vehicle damage, according to initial reports.

3 hurt after 2 cars, semi hauling cars collide on I-75 S in Tipp City

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 8:34 PM
Updated: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 9:30 PM

FROM SCENE: I-75 in Tipp City closed for crash between semi, 2 cars

UPDATE @ 9:30 p.m.

Two southbound lanes of Intersate 75 in Tipp City are back open following a crash involving a semi hauling new cars and two cars.

A third lane remains closed for road construction.

FIRST REPORT

The southbound lanes of Interstate 75 in Tipp City are closed tonight following a crash involving a semi and two cars.

The highway is shut down just south of exit 68, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Piqua Post.

The crash was reported around 7:45 p.m.

We have a crew on the way and will update this report.

Court: Cross shaped monument honoring WWI vets ruled unconstitutional

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 5:06 AM

An Eternal Flame monument dedicated to World War I casualties.
Harvey Meston/Getty Images
An Eternal Flame monument dedicated to World War I casualties.(Harvey Meston/Getty Images)

A 40-foot Latin cross-shaped monument in Maryland, built nearly a century ago to honor soldiers who died during World War I, has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court, CNN reported

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The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday by a 2-1 margin that the 92-year-old structure was in violation of the First Amendment because it is on public land at a busy intersection in Prince George's County and is maintained with government funds. The court's decision does not address whether the monument should be removed or modified.

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the American Legion, who were named as defendants in the case, argued that the cross had a nonreligious purpose “does not have the primary effect of endorsing religion.”

But the appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, sided 2-1 with the American Humanist Association, an organization that advocates for secularism and represented several non-Christian residents of Prince George's County.

The memorial was completed in 1925 using contributions from private donors and the American Legion. It was acquired in 1961 by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

If the Supreme Court declines to hear the case, a district court judge would have to decide whether to order the removal of the cross, said David Niose, legal director of the American Humanist Association.

"It's hard to think of remedies other than removal," Niose told CNN, though he said there is the "possibility of modifying the structure."