Photo of Orville Wright making the first powered flight on Dec. 17, 1903.
Dec. 17, 1903: Orville Wright takes off on the first successful powered flight. (Photo: Library of Congress)

Aviation Trail First Flight dinner set

In Aviation Trail, Inc., NAHA Alliances, NAHA Events /

DAYTON, Ohio— The head of the Ohio Aerospace Institute in Cleveland and former research leader at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will be guest speaker at the Aviation Trail First Flight dinner on Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Michael L. Heil, president and chief executive officer of the Ohio Aerospace Institute (OAI), will speak about “Ohio—the Aerospace State” at a reception and dinner celebrating the 111th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first powered flights at Kitty Hawk, N.C.

Photo of Michael Heil, president of Ohio Aerospace Institute.

Michael Heil

“We need to remember always that the United States’ stupendous achievements in the space age actually began with Wilbur and Orville Wright,” said Marvin Christian, president of Aviation Trail Inc. (ATI).

The program will include a presentation about “The Triumph of Flight,” the Iconic Wright Flyer monument the Wright Image Group Inc. (WIG) plans to build at the Interstate 70-75 Interchange north of Dayton, by WIG advisor George Mongon. A seven-foot model of the monument as it is now envisioned will be on display.

Prior to joining OAI in January 2007, Heil served in an Air Force career that included several assignments at Wright-Patterson, most recently as Director, Center for Space Studies and Research at the Air Force Institute of Technology.

Other duties include serving as Director of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Propulsion Directorate with responsibilities for research facilities at Wright-Patterson and Edwards Air Force Bases valued at more than $2.1 billion, while leading the efforts of more than 1,000 scientists, engineers and staff.

A distinguished engineering graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy Class of 1975, Heil also earned a master’s degree in flight structures at Columbia University on a Guggenheim Fellowship and a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology. He worked on the F-15, C-17 and Advanced Cruise Missile programs and held the positions of Deputy Director of the Astronautics Laboratory, Commander of the Phillips Laboratory and Arnold Engineering Development Center, Commandant of the Air Force Institute of Technology, and Special Assistant to the Commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Tickets for the dinner are $60 per person. Checks should be mailed to Aviation Trail, Inc., P.O. Box 633, Wright Brothers Branch, Dayton, OH 45409 to arrive no later than Monday, Dec. 15. Please indicate your choice of an entrée: beef, chicken or vegetarian. The evening’s social hour begins at 6 p.m. with dinner served at 7.

OAI, a not-for-profit corporation, is a joint initiative of the NASA Glenn Research Center, the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the State of Ohio, ten Ohio public and private universities granting doctoral degrees in aerospace-related engineering disciplines and numerous companies engaged in aerospace activities.

ATI was formed in 1981 to promote Dayton’s aviation heritage that began with the invention of the airplane by Wilbur and Orville Wright and continues on to today’s aerospace projects of the future now under development at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.