Wright Seaplane Base Inc. members Dennis McTaggart (left) and Dave Miller (right) present a $200 check to Dayton History curator Gwen Haney at the Wright Seaplane display at Carillon Park in Dayton, Ohio. WSBI partnered with Dayton History for the new display educating the public on Orville Wrights 100+ seaplane experimental flights along the Great Miami River in Moraine and West Carrollton in 1913 and 1914. The exhibition combines photos of a Wright Aeroboat flying along the Miami River in Moraine and a write-up about the flights. Majestically soaring above the display is a replica Wright Aeroboat. The display is located in front of the Dayton Invention Merry-Go-Round in which each ride represents a different business or great invention in Dayton's history.
The exhibition concludes a year and a half effort to develop a visual, educational display to honor the brother's significant attempts and success towards experimental flights along the Miami River. WSBI members wrote several drafts of the language to be used on the display which was reviewed and modified by Dayton History staff. Since the display is housed in Carillon Park's main building and is beside the carousel, thousands of people will have the opportunity to learn about the history of the Wright's seaplane testing and development that took place beginning, 1911.
It is with a heavy heart we regret to inform our followers and friends that one of our founding members, Donald Ferguson (Big Fergie)--the other half or 'heart' of Wright Seaplane Base, Inc., our fervent storyteller and resident historian of the Wright Brothers has passed away. We send our sincerest condolences to his family and friends. R.I.P. Big Fergie, we will miss you dearly.
FERGUSON, Donald Lawrence, passed away on February 3rd, 2017. He was born on February 6th, 1933 in McRoberts Kentucky, a small coal mining town in Letcer county Kentucky. He graduated from the Hindman Settlement School in 1951 and immediately joined the U.S. Navy serving four years with the SeaBees on deployments in California, Japan and the Philippine Islands. He retired from Dayton Power & Light Co. in 1993 after 42 years of dedicated service. Don also served twice as Commander of the VFW Post 3438, President of the West Carrollton Historical Society, President of the DP&L Retirees Club and fundamental contributor of the Wright Seaplane Base Inc. He graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Dayton and was also a lifelong seeker of knowledge with a passion for history and aviation. He is survived by Eva Jean Ferguson, his wife of over 60 years, married on September 29th, 1956 as well as his four children Kim (Ben) Stewart, Kevin (Becky) Ferguson, Karen (Doug) Hatcher and Keith Ferguson. Don is also survived by seven grandchildren; Kevin Michael Ferguson, Alex Stewart, Brandon Ferguson, Rachael Hatcher, Kelsey Trinidad, Stacey Koontz, Jolie Ferguson as well as five great grandchildren; Parker, Lincoln, Elena, Tony and Tillman. All of them lovingly calling him 'Papa Don.' He was a member of the Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Church, where a celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, February 18th, 2017 starting at 12 Noon at the following address; MVUUF Unitarian Church, 8690 Yankee Rd., Centerville, OH 45458, (937) 436-3628. Family members and Friends may arrive early from 11 AM to 12 Noon to meet with Don's immediate family if desired. Per Don's request, his remains have been cremated and prepared by Sanner Funeral Home in West Carrollton, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.
With a heavy heart, we regret to inform our Wright Seaplane Base members, followers and friends that one of our founding members, Bob Mayne, has moved on to fly in clearer skies. We send our sincerest condolences to his family and friends. We will miss you Bob.
OBITUARY: MAYNE, Robert "Bob" William, age 93, of Oakwood, passed away on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Bob was born to the late Robert A.C. and Ruth D. (nee Dissinger) Mayne on March 10, 1923, in Dayton, OH.
He was a graduate of Oakwood H.S. and The Ohio State University. Bob served his country in the Army Air Corp during WWII. He was one of the first service men to be trained in the operation and repair of radar. Bob enjoyed aviation, history and volunteered for over 20 years at Wright "B" Hanger in Springboro, OH. He was a founding member of the Wright Brothers Sea Plane Association, past State President of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), past board member of St. Joseph's Orphanage, past commander of Dayton Commandery #68, member of Reese Council #9, and past President of Kiwanis of Oakwood. Bob was also a member of the Mystic Lodge #405, the Scottish Rite, precinct captain for the local Republican Party and a longtime member of the Lutheran Church of our Savior.
He was preceded in death by his parents, siblings, Martha, Nancy, Mary, and David and nephews, Michael and Robert. Bob is survived by his wife of 48 years, Phyllis; children, Patrick (Eden), Christine, and Barbara Mayne, and grandchildren, Lauren and Ethan.
Family will greet friends from 5:00pm-8:00pm with Masonic services at 7:30 pm on Friday, July 15, 2016 at Routsong Funeral Home, 2100 E. Stroop Rd. Kettering, OH. A funeral service will be held at 1:00 pm on Saturday, July 16, 2016 at the Lutheran Church of our Savior, 155 E. Thruston Blvd. Dayton, OH. Burial at Woodland Cemetery.
In memory of Bob, the family has asked for donations to be made to the Wright "B" Flyer, Inc., 10550 N Springboro Pike, Miamisburg, OH 45342, or to a charity of your choice.
Leisure and adventures the Wrights’ knew how to live!
There are some interesting stereotypes about aviators. No matter the generation there will always be the debonair aviators, the heroes, the adventurers and thrill seekers. There’s also the “Maverick”, memorialized in the minds of many would-be aviators from the 1986 cult aviation movie, Top Gun. But these stereotypes aren’t shunned by those men and women who gaze skyward at the sound of propellers or jet engines pushing tin over the horizon. No, we embrace these stereotypes because they more or less tell a story of who we are as a community.
As a community, aviators are as diverse as the stories they tell and the adventures they seek! As we look back at the Wright Brothers we see many of the same stereotypes were lived out daily by this adventurous duo. To a degree we can relate these brothers to the same types of adventurers who now post their many amazing feats on Youtube. Wilbur enjoyed bicycle racing, together the brothers were amazing entrepreneurs, they embarked on building a house together, they dabbled in print media, and embraced photography to capture so much of their aeronautical exploits. Could you imagine how they would have thrived using todays social media and wireless technology! Imagine what Orville and Wilbur would have done with a GoPro in hand…not surprisingly Wilbur did take a "GoPro-style" video during some of their early flights (see 1909 flight - Wilbur in Germany)!
So what else can the Wright Brothers teach us about their varied and interesting lives? Aside from working on hull designs for Wight Model G Aero Boat we find that Orville also enjoyed leisure boating as well! The Wright Brothers were inseparable team and with Wilbur’s passing Orville remained depressed and disillusioned. At the urging of his sister Katharine, Orville agreed to retreat to Canada’s Georgian Bay shore. In 1931 Orville writes to his housekeeper Carrie on his decision to purchase his second boat, a Gidley Two 66. On August 8, 1931 Orville placed a deposit on a similar but larger 32’6” Gidley Day Cruiser, an unused water taxi retrofitted to the exact specifications as the Gidley Two 66 with Navy Top. His friends at Georgian Bay had conspired to get Orville to name his boat. After many suggestions the group of friends settled on “KITTY HAWK” after the place which had brought about the Wrights’ place in aviation history. The letters were mailed to Carrie and presented to Orville as a Christmas gift. Not willing to reject the gift Orville sent the letters to the Gidley Company in Penetanguishene to have them installed. (Johnstone, 2011)
What is even more amazing is that this boat is still in existence and in working order! The boat was restored in 1975 by Greavette Boat Works for Guy and Katherine Johnstone. See the pictures below and share the beauty and craftsmanship of this historic watercraft and help keep the Wright’s story alive!
By: J.L. Manresa
The STEM program allows for participating students to learn to work as a team, experience leadership, and citizenship as they study the exhilaration of flight through the practice of science, technology, engineering, and math. A fun but all-important educational program supported by the theory of aviation, aeronautics and most likely what will be the students first flight after completing their week at Air Camp.
WSBI recognizes the importance to encourage and promote STEM educational programs, which is why we teamed with West Carrollton Superintendent, Doctor Clifford and Mr. Curell, Executive Director of Air Camp USA, Inc. to promote STEM programs within the West Carrollton middle school district. We are a non-profit organization. And we are proud and dedicated citizens for the preservation and development of the West Carrollton community. That is why supporting our younger generations through an adventurous aviation twist to a STEM scholarship program, such as Air Camp USA, is so important to WSBI. It harkens back to our foundation of aviation history. We truly hope the infectiousness of flight, aviation and/or aeronautics captures ahold of Liam and other students as well to spark a new interest in STEM programs. And, of course, leads future generations to NASA, Aeronautical Universities, or even Human Systems and/or Engineering collegiate educational programs. STEM has certainly opened many successful doors to many of the board members for WSBI; we hope it will do the same for Liam.
At WSBI, our primary mission is preserving and sharing the Wright Brothers’ philosophy of flight and Orville’s efforts that contributed to the development of Hydro Aero-plane technology. And if we can encourage our younger generation along the way, think how much better our community of West Carrollton and surrounding communities can be. Just as Wilbur and Orville were encouraged as young children to read, explore, and learn all they could. We wish to do the same for middle school children through our WSBI/Air Camp Scholarship each year and b