Wright “B” Flyer Inc., an all-volunteer organization that flies a lookalike of the Wright brothers’ first production airplane, has launched a project to replace its venerable flying machine.
The not-for-profit organization has been flying Wright “B” Flyer No. 1, also known as the “Brown Bird” or “Iron Bird,” since 1982. The one-of-a-kind airplane resembles a 1911 Wright Model B airplane, but its design meets modern airworthiness standards, and it’s built from modern parts and materials.
The airplane has made flybys of the Rose Bowl and the Statue of Liberty and has been on display in Berlin. Numerous aviation pioneers and dignitaries have flown on the airplane, including the late Apollo astronaut Neil Armstrong. It’s a familiar sight in local skies at the Vectren Dayton Air Show and other community events.
The Brown Bird has been flying for a generation, thanks to regular maintenance and periodic upgrades. “We’re thinking ahead to the next generation,” said Jay Jabour, Wright “B” Flyer president and acting chair. “Eventually we will need to replace the Brown Bird with a new airplane. To ensure continuity of our mission in future years, we’re beginning the replacement process now.”
The new airplane project begins as Wright “B” Flyer’s heritage partners, the National Aviation Heritage Alliance, the National Park Service and others are working to restore the original Wright Company factory buildings in Dayton. The factory was the first in America built for the purpose of producing airplanes, and its first product was the Wright Model B.
Wright “B” Flyer is developing a fundraising plan for financial and in-kind donations. The project already has received a substantial donation by an individual. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.
Wright “B” Flyer Inc. is an all-volunteer, 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit corporation that promotes Dayton’s aviation heritage by flying and displaying lookalikes of Wright Model B airplanes. It is based on Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport in Ohio, where its hangar-museum is open to the public at no charge from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Please visit www.wright-b-flyer.org for more information.