Historic Grimes Field

Grimes Flying Lab Foundation

Shed new light on your appreciation for aircraft lighting and learn more about the man who was dedicated to making flight safer at night by visiting the Grimes Flying Laboratory museum.

Located at Grimes Field in Urbana, Ohio—northeast of Dayton—the Grimes Flying Lab Foundation is dedicated to the Flying Lab test vehicle, as well as preserving the legacy of Warren G. Grimes, the father of aircraft lighting, born just a few miles from where the GrimesBuilding1Wright brothers lived and worked.

Warren G. Grimes, an enshrinee of the National Aviation Hall of Fame, produced his first airplane lights in his garage in 1933. By World War II, Grimes Manufacturing Company had grown to produce lighting for the needs of military aviation. Today, Grimes (Honeywell) continues to design, develop and manufacture lighting systems for aviation, aerospace and transportation industries.

At the Grimes Flying Lab museum, you will see the Flying Lab—a Beech 18 that served in the Air Force as the C-45. Built in 1952, this C-45H was a valuable tool for Grimes engineers to test and evaluate aircraft exterior lighting systems under various conditions while actually in flight. Volunteers for the Flying Lab Foundation, recently spent nine years restoring this beautiful aircraft after it sustained wing damage in 1986 and spent nearly fourteen years lying abandoned in a field.

While at Grimes Field to see the Flying Lab, you’ll also want to see the memorabilia from the life of Warren G. Grimes and the Grimes Manufacturing Company, along with historical and modern aircraft lighting products.

The Grimes Flying Lab and museum will illuminate your understanding of aircraft lighting that makes aviation safer for all of us.

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Champaign Aviation Museum

At the Champaign Aviation Museum, you’ll get a close-up look at historic aircraft—particularly from World War II—that soared great heights to preserve freedom. More than stationary museum pieces, these warbirds have been or are being restored to fly again—to thunder to life, taxi down a runway and take off from our home base, Grimes Field in Urbana, Ohio. Whenever you visit, you’ll witness history in the remaking. Our corps of volunteers (you’re welcome to join them) will continually be at work reconstructing a plane, such as our current project, the Champaign Lady B-17G Flying Fortress (#44-85813). Piece by piece, volunteers are returning the B-17 to flying form, right in the museum.

GrimesBuilding2The Champaign Lady was used by the Curtiss-Wright Corporation as a test bed for experimental turboprop and turbojet engines. It also was flown for propeller research and eventually was modified as an air tanker. In 1980, while fighting a forest fire, the plane crashed in Bear Pen, N.C. The Champaign Lady will be painted in the scheme of the 401st Bombardment Group (H), 1st Air Division of the Eighth Air Force, which flew 155 missions out of Deenethorpe, England, from Nov. 26, 1943 to April 20, 1945. A section from another B-17, being used in the restoration, was used in filming Twelve O’Clock High, starring Gregory Peck.

Other aircraft on display include: the B-25 Mitchell, a C-47 Skytrain, an A-26 Invader, a T-6 Texan, and a replica of a 1910 Wright Flyer.

For more information, please visit www.champaignaviationmuseum.org.