Sarah Byrn Rickman to speak about WASPs on Oct 3

WASP of the Ferry Command

WASP of the Ferry Command (click to enlarge)

The next meeting of the Huffman Prairie Aviation History Society will take place on Monday, October 3, 2016, at 7:00 p.m. All are welcome!

At this month’s meeting, Sarah Byrn Rickman will speak about WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots) and her books: WASP of the Ferry Command: Women Pilots, Uncommon Deeds and Finding Dorothy Scott: Letters of a WASP Pilot (view PDF flyer).

The meeting and presentation will take place at the East Interpretive Center, Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park at 2380 Memorial Road (intersection of State Route 444 and Kauffman Road), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

All are welcome!  There is ample free parking, and light refreshments will be provided.

You can view the upcoming schedule of meetings and speakers anytime at :

Brief Biography of Sarah Byrn Rickman:

Sarah Byrn Rickman

Sarah Byrn Rickman

Sarah Byrn Rickman left her newspaper editor job in 1989 to write books. Consequently, Sarah produced her first award winning WASP novel, Flight from Fear, and then The Originals: The Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron of World War II.

The University of North Texas Press has published Sarah’s newest book, Nancy Love and the WASP Ferry Pilots of World War II, the insightful biography of the captivating but little known commander of the women pilots who ferried airplanes across the continental United States for the Army in World War II. Sarah was the recipient of the 2009 Combs Gates Award, given by the National Aviation Hall of Fame. The award is for her work in telling the human side of aviation through her books about the WASP. As part of the award, Sarah will write one more piece of the WASP story — a book tentatively titled The WASP of the Ferry Command. It will tell the story of all 303 WASP who were assigned to ferry airplanes for the Ferrying Division, Air Transport Command, U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II.

On November 13, 2009, she soloed a 1946 Aeronca Champ on a grass field at Red Stewart Field in Waynesville, Ohio, and she received her Light sport Pilot certification in July 2011.

The year 2016 has been a banner year for WASP author Sarah Byrn Rickman. Her sixth book — WASP of the Ferry Command: Women Pilots, Uncommon Deeds — debuted March of this year. A draft of WASP of the Ferry Command earned the 2009 Combs Gates Award from the National Aviation Hall of Fame for creative works that “reflect an emphasis on the individual pioneers, the people, who defined America’s aerospace horizons”  — the human face of the mechanized outcome. Sarah’s seventh WASP book, Finding Dorothy Scott: Letters of a WASP Pilot — a touchingly personal story — is newly released.

And it doesn’t stop there. On February 20, 2016, the New York Times published Sarah’s OpEd, “The Female Pilots We Betrayed,” telling how the WASP “lost” the right to have their ashes laid at Arlington National Cemetery — on a technicality. That decision has since been reversed.

Sarah also won two awards from the National League of American Pen Women in 2016: the Vinnie Ream Award in Letters — for her creative essay based on her new biography, Finding Dorothy Scott; and the Eudora Welty Memorial Award for Fiction for her WASP novel Flight to Destiny.

Sarah’s books have won four other awards, including finalist in the 2003 WILLA Awards (named for Willa Cather), presented by Women Writing the West for her first WASP novel, Fight From Fear. Nine of her WASP articles have been published nationally, plus one about Army helicopter pilot Captain Vicki Calhoun who flew in the first Gulf War. Sarah also edits the WASP newsletter for Texas Woman’s University/the WASP Archives.

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New and Updated Collections Available for Research

We have new manuscript collections available for research!  Click on the links to view the complete online (PDF) finding aids.

The following new collections were recently arranged and described and are now available for research:

  • Occupy Dayton Oral History Project (MS-499)
  • Judith Ezekiel “Feminism in the Heartland” Research Collection (MS-507)
  • Vic Bilek Aviation Research Collection (MS-514)
  • Frank A. Kiraly Aviation Postcard and Photo Collection (MS-515)
  • Junior League of Dayton Records (MS-516)

Additional materials were recently processed into the following existing collections, so you might want to take another look at them:

  • Westminster Presbyterian Church Records (MS-276)

New, improved, and/or revised finding aids are now available for:

  • Carl Ultes, Jr., Papers (MS-30)
  • Springfield Typographical Union No. 117 Records (MS-47)
  • International Union of Electrical Workers (IUE), District Council 7 Records (MS-49)
  • Urbana Typographical Union, Local 747 Records (MS-50)
  • Historic Almanacs Collection (MS-51)
  • Miscellaneous Labor Union Records (MS-52)
  • Barbers’ Union, Local 26 Records (MS-54)
  • Dayton Municipal Airport Records (MS-59)
  • C. Philip Skardon Papers (MS-60)
  • Printing and Pressman’s Union, Local 54 Records (MS-61)
  • Flyman’s & Inkman’s Union, Local 616 Records (MS-62)
  • Charles V. Simms Papers (MS-73)
  • ARTBEAT Collection (MS-260)
  • Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra Records (MS-314)
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David McCullough in new video ‘applauds’ efforts to save Wright factory

DAYTON, Ohio—The campaign to save the Wright brothers’ factory has won a new supporter— David McCullough.
The author of the best-selling book The Wright Brothers endorses the effort in a new video filmed inside the historic factory.
“I applaud all of you who are working to save these buildings and to bring them back into being part of the story” of the Wright brothers, McCullough says in the video.
The National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) released the video Thursday, Sept. 1, on its YouTube channelwith McCullough’s permission. NAHA interviewed McCullough for the video on April 19 following McCullough’stour of the factory.
Wilbur and Orville Wright formed the Wright Company in 1909 and built the company’s first factory building in Dayton in 1910. The company added a second building in 1911. The factory was the first in America built for manufacturing airplanes.
“These are symbolic or emblematic structures in that they contain a story of importance not just to this community, but to the country and to the world,” McCullough says.
Orville sold the Wright Company in 1915. The factory was the nucleus of what became the 54-acre Delphi Home Avenue Plant, which shut down in 2008.
NAHA, a nonprofit, has been working with the National Park Service, state of Ohio, city of Dayton and others to make the factory a unit of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.
“I’d like to be able to walk in here and see their airplanes being built at various stages,” McCullough says in the video. “I’d like to see the tools that were used. The saws, the lathes, that sort of thing. I’d like to see where they had lunch. I’d like to see the whole world, the whole reality of this community. This was a community in here, a community at work.”
“David has made it no secret that he reveres the Wright Brothers, and America’s National Parks. And after several visits to our Dayton community, he was truly taken with our work to restore the Wright Company factory,” said Amanda Wright Lane, great-grandniece of the Wright brothers and a NAHA trustee.
NAHA is negotiating with the current property owner, Home Avenue Redevelopment LLC, to buy the 54-acre site. Dayton Metro Library has committed to locate its new West Branch on the site, an approximately $10 million investment.
NAHA projects it will need $4 million to buy the property, stabilize the buildings, make initial site improvements and begin redeveloping the remaining acres in ways that would complement the Wright Factory Unit of the national park. It has raised about $2 million so far in public and private funds.
At the request of many individuals wanting to contribute, it has added a donation page to its website.
In the video McCullough says, “I applaud all of you who are working to save these buildings and to bring them back into being part of the story. Those who went before us here, those who did things of merit and changed the world, deserve to be present, as it were, among us.”
The above original press release was written and distributed by NAHA
About NAHA
The National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit chartered by Congress in 2004 as the management entity for the National Aviation Heritage Area, a region of national historical importance encompassing Montgomery, Greene, Miami, Clark, Warren, Champaign, Shelby, and Auglaize counties. The Heritage Area is one of 49 National Heritage Areas in a program administrated by the National Park Service, and the only one dedicated to aviation heritage. Visit for more information.
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