FAIRBORN — The Festival of Flight and the National Aviation Hall of Fame will partner by including Hall of Fame Enshrinement activities in this year’s festival.
The Festival of Flight will take place 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, on the Wright State University campus. The Festival of Flight is free for all attendees.
Later that evening, the National Aviation Hall of Fame will hold its annual Enshrinement Dinner and Ceremony at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
The Festival of Flight celebrates aviation and innovation in the Miami Valley while introducing the community to many of the hidden gems of aviation-related resources in the area.
“Bringing the pioneers, the legends of aerospace to Dayton is not just great for the Hall of Fame, it is a fantastic opportunity for the southwest region of Ohio to share in the historic precedent of people being inducted into the Hall of Fame,” said Amy Spowart, executive director of the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
Organizers say the two events share a lot in common and should appeal to similar audiences. Both celebrate aviation innovators, educate a broad audience about the importance of aviation, especially in the Miami Valley, and seek to inspire young people to embrace technology and understand how technology was used to realize the dream of flight.
Spowart called the partnership between the Festival of Flight and the National Aviation Hall of Fame a perfect fit. Noting that her organization honors aerospace legends and inspires future generations, Spowart said, “On Saturday night we’re going to be honoring and during the day in partnership with the Festival of Flight we’re going to be inspiring.”
The Festival of Flight and the National Aviation Hall of Fame plan to incorporate some Hall of Fame activities, including participation by inductees, into the festival.
Greg Scharer, executive director of alumni relations for Wright State and co-founder of the Festival of Flight, said the festival’s partnership with the Hall of Fame allows the festival to appeal to a national audience.
“Festival of Flight attendees will get an audience with people who are internationally known and are heroes of aviation history,” Scharer said.
The festival plans to greatly expand its education area, which was the most popular part of the event in 2019. The Aviation and Innovation Hangar featured numerous hands-on and experiential activities, innovative demonstrations and displays, giveaways and history lessons from Wright State, the U.S. Air Force and local community organizations.
“Whether that’s kids learning about science, technology, art, math, however that comes into play, every age is impacted by aviation during the Festival of Flight,” Spowart said.
“The thing that sets the festival of flight apart from any other festival in our region is the educational component,” Scharer added.
In its first year, hosted in October 2019, the Festival of Flight attracted more than 4,200 people to Wright State’s campus.
This year’s festival will take place in Lot 1 near the Wright State Student Union. It will feature aviation-related educational experiences; flight-themed food and drinks; live performances by local bands; a vintage baseball game; and a dedicated area with fun activities for children.
The class of 2020 of the National Aviation Hall of Fame is a diverse group representing a range of contributions to the advancement of flight and crewed exploration of space.
Inductees are: the late 2nd Lt. Eugene J. Bullard, an African American pilot who flew in combat for France during World War I; the late Maxime “Max” A. Faget, who designed the Mercury Spacecraft and was part of the design team for Gemini, Apollo and the Space Shuttle; Joan Sullivan Garrett, founder of MedAire, the first aviation global medical emergency response organization; the late Capt. Richard “Dick” F. Gordon, Gemini 11 pilot and Command Module pilot and back-up commander of Apollo 12; and retired Col. Paul G. Kaminski, an aeronautical engineer who developed stealth technology and directed the F-117 and B-2 programs.