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.

Harrison Twp. fires crews battling fully engulfed house fire

Published: Sunday, April 23, 2017 @ 12:33 AM

Harrison Twp. fire crews are battling a fully engulfed house fire Sunday morning. 

Firefighters were sent to the 600 block of Syracuse Avenue around 12:22 a.m. 

Initial reports indicate crews arrived to find a house in the area fully engulfed in flames.

A portion of Syracuse Avenue remains closed as crews work the scene, according to scanner traffic.

We will continue to monitor this developing story and post updates to this page.

Roof reportedly collapses at Greene Count

Published: Sunday, April 23, 2017 @ 1:12 AM

The roof of a Greene County house has reportedly collapsed as fire crews battle a house fire Sunday morning.

Crews were dispatched to the 3800 block of Wilberforce-Clifton Road outside of Clifton around 12:55 a.m. 

The fire was originally reported in a garage shortly before flames were reported coming from the roof of a house. 

Initial reports indicate the roof of the house has collapsed and crews encountered heavy flames upon arrival. 

We will continue to follow this developing story.

Daytime burglars steal thousands in guns, electronics from Dayton home

Published: Saturday, April 22, 2017 @ 11:37 PM

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A man returned home from work Friday evening to find his doors unlocked and thousands of dollars in electronics, weapons and cash missing.

Police were called around 5:30 p.m. to the 1800 block of East Fifth Street in Dayton on a report of a daytime burglary. The suspect or suspects are believed to have entered through a side window on the first floor, which was broken, according to a Dayton police report. 

Items stolen include a small fireproof safe containing $3,800; four flat-screen televisions and other electronics, including an Xbox, DVD player, sound bar and cable boxes.

Weapons also were taken, including two collector knives and 12 guns: a 9mm Glock, two 44mm Rugers, a silver 40mm Smith & Wesson, four rifles and four shotguns, the report stated. 

The value of the stolen items is in excess of $10,000 during the burglary in broad daylight. A crew was requested to the home to try to find evidence leading to a suspect or suspects.

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Dayton man tells police he has no idea why neighbor attacks, stabs him in alley

Published: Saturday, April 22, 2017 @ 5:01 PM

A 29-year-old Dayton man said a neighbor attacked and stabbed him Friday afternoon in an alley but he didn't know why.

Police were called around 3:40 p.m. to the 20 block of Ridge Avenue, where the victim was with medics. He suffered a stab wound to his left arm, a cut on his right hand and a cut to his left eye and some head injuries, according to a Dayton police report.

The victim initially said he didn’t know who attacked him and said he tried to fight back until his girlfriend told him the man had a weapon, described as a small folding pocket knife. He and his girlfriend then ran home, and that’s when he realized he had been stabbed, according to a Dayton police report.

Medics took the victim to Grandview Medical Center, where he admitted his attacker was a man in his 50s who lives in the same block. He told police he lied because he feared retaliation and didn’t want to press charges, according to the report.

No arrests were made and the incident remains under investigation.

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