World War I Dawn Patrol
Sept. 25–27, 2009
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
1100 Spaatz Street, Dayton, Ohio (937) 255-3286 www.nationalmuseum.af.mil
History’s opening struggle for aerial supremacy during World War I may have lacked the adrenalin rush of, say, breaking the sound barrier, but even 110 mph may seem that fast from the open cockpit of a biplane. Anyone seeking a sense of the era should attend the Dawn Patrol Rendezvous. Presented by the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force and the Great War Aeroplanes Association, the three-day annual event features vintage original and reproduction aircraft, as well as period automobiles, re-enactors, radio-controlled models and a collectors’ show.
To put this aerial legacy in context, visit the museum itself, which showcases a variety of historic planes, from the force’s birth in 1908 as part of the U.S. Army Signal Corps through its later incarnations as the Army Air Service, Army Air Corps, Army Air Forces and finally, in 1947, the U.S. Air Force. A comparison of the museum’s collection to the Dawn Patrol planes demonstrates just how far American aeronautics have since progressed and, indeed, surpassed those of other nations.
Originally published in the September 2009 issue of Military History. To subscribe, click here.