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.

‘I just fired one': 84-year-old man shoots, kills home intruder

Published: Friday, December 08, 2017 @ 10:59 AM

Intruder Killed By 85-Year-Old Man

An elderly man shot and killed one of two intruders at his home early Friday morning in Ellport, Lawrence County, police said.

The 84-year-old man, Don Lutz, was confronted by the intruders about 1:30 a.m. at his Jamison Avenue home, authorities said. An altercation followed.

>>RAW VIDEO: Man describes home invasion shooting

“I just fired one. It was in the dark. He attacked me and he was up close and I shot him,” Lutz said. “They jumped me and we both went on the floor. I scuffled with them on the floor and the one guy rolled over dead and the other guy, he jumped up and went out the door.”

Police investigate after an 85-year-old man's home was broken into. Police said that the man shot and killed one of the intruders. The other ran off.(WPXI.com)

>> Read more trending news 

Police are searching for the second intruder who ran off.

“The other one, maybe the bullet hit him, too. I don’t know. I hope so,” Lutz said.

Lutz said he keeps his gun under his pillow. He’s a little sore, but otherwise in good spirits after the ordeal.

Investigators believe Lutz might have been targeted.

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Intruder killed by 84-year-old man was family member

Published: Saturday, December 09, 2017 @ 10:40 PM

Elderly Man Kills Intruder Who Was A Family Member

The intruder shot and killed by an elderly homeowner in Lawrence County early Friday morning has been identified as the shooter's nephew-in-law. 

>> Read more trending news

Investigators told Channel 11 the man has been identified as Dennis Mercadante, 49.

Mercadante was identified by using facial recognition by Pennsylvania State Police. 

Investigators said Don Lutz, 84, was confronted by two intruders, Mercadante and another suspect, at about 1:30 a.m. Friday at his Jamison Avenue home, and an altercation followed.

“I just fired one. It was in the dark. He attacked me and he was up close and I shot him,” Lutz said.

“They jumped me and we both went on the floor. I scuffled with them on the floor and the one guy rolled over dead and the other guy, he jumped up and went out the door.”

Police are still searching for the second suspect, who ran off. 

“The other one, maybe the bullet hit him, too. I don’t know. I hope so,” Lutz said.

Car crashes, strikes home in Dayton; driver flees

Published: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 9:23 PM
Updated: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 9:41 PM

Car on its top Video

UPDATE @9:42 p.m.

A woman said she was inside her home watching television with her family when they heard tires squealing and a crash.

A car struck the house in the 800 block of Osmond Drive around 8:50 p.m.

No one in the house was injured. 

FIRST REPORT

Crews are investigating a rollover crash in Dayton.

The crash was reported around 8:50 p.m. in the 800 block of Osmond Avenue. The car came to a rest on its top next to a house.

>> Child survives double fatal crash in Greene County; Victims identified

It’s unknown if anyone was injured.

This story will be updated as additional information becomes available.

911 call: Woman’s shooting death was accidental

Published: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 3:22 AM
Updated: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 9:28 PM

Woman's death investigated as homicide

UPDATE @9:30 p.m.

In a 911 call, a caller stated a gun accidentally went off, and a woman had been hit.

“We were trying to unload this gun, and it went off, and it hit her in the shoulder,” the 911 caller states.

A dispatcher asked the caller if it was an accident, and the 911 caller said it was.

>> TRENDING: Child survives double fatal crash in Greene County; victims identified 

The victim, Eileen Jones, 30, was taken to Miami Valley Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The coroner’s office said an official ruling has not been made, but a Dayton police report lists the dead as a felony homicide/murder investigation.

We are working to learn if a suspect has been taken into custody. 

This story will be updated as we learn more.

>> WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

UPDATE @ 12:30 p.m.

The death of a 30-year-old Dayton woman is a homicide, Dayton police said.

The shooting was reported around 1 a.m. in the 600 block of West Fairview Avenue.

The victim, who was pronounced dead at Miami Valley Hospital, has been identified as Eileen Jones.

There is no information about a suspect or whether any arrests have been made.

FIRST REPORT

There has been a reported shooting in the 600 block of West Fairview Avenue, per initial reports.

Crews were dispatched to the incident  just before 3 a.m. on Sunday.

We have a crew on the way to the scene and are working to learn more details.