The National Aviation Heritage Alliance is a nonprofit organization that manages operations of the National Aviation Heritage Area in Ohio. The group was designated by Congress in 2004. The National Aviation Heritage Alliance seeks to generate interest and educate the public about the evolution of flight, beginning with the Wright Brothers and their facilities in Dayton, Ohio. The NAHA works with partner organizations in pursuit of this goal.
The NAHA works to maintain the legacy of the Wright Brothers. In 2013, the state of Connecticut claimed that they were the first in flight. Local records indicated that Connecticut resident Gustave Whitehead flew two years before the Wright Brothers first flight on 17 December 1903. The NAHA worked with the Ohio and North Carolina governments, with the help of 34 aviation experts, to defend the Wright Brothers status of first in flight. The debate is ongoing.
The NAHA offers an annual scholarship to assist students that dream of flying. The Mitchell Cary – Don Gum Memorial scholarship provides $1,500 towards flying lessons. The lessons are used to obtain a Private Pilot or Light Sport Pilot Certificate. The scholarship honors test pilots and trustees Don Gum and Mitchell Cary. The grant was first offered in 2012 to applicants between 15 – 21 years old, that reside in one of the National Aviation Heritage Alliance counties or have completed Air Camp, have a valid driver’s license, and have successfully submitted support documents.
The NAHA was able to begin working with the property that originally belonged to the Wrights in 2009. The Wright Company Factory had been purchased by GM, then Delphi. Delphi surrendered the property after declaration of bankruptcy, allowing for it to be taken by the National Park Service. The NAHA is hoping to restore and preserve the original factory buildings as part of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. Although the factory is closed to the public, special tours are led once a month.
To learn more about the National Aviation Heritage Alliance, visit: www.aviationheritagearea.orgIt can be hard to find the right organization to join. Learn more by browsing our featured organizations