A group in Ohio that plans to raise $21 million to build a monument to aviation that would rise almost as high as the Statue of Liberty and be visible to the occupants of an estimated 53 million passing cars each year has launched its 2018 fundraising campaign.
The nonprofit Wright Image Group says it has raised about 10 percent of its goal to fund the creation of the Triumph of Flight Monument that would go up near the intersection of two interstate highways outside Dayton, Ohio.
As the monument is envisioned, a replica of the Wright Brothers’ third Flyer will sit atop a 270-foot-high steel pedestal rising from a reflecting pool surrounded by curved steel walls with reliefs depicting historic achievements in aviation.
“Aviators portrayed in the tableau will include many sons and daughters of Ohio, including astronauts Neil Armstrong and John Glenn, and Nadine Nagle, a World War II Women’s Airforce Service Pilot who flew fighters and bombers in support of the war effort,” AOPA reported in an April 2017 article about the project.
Plans call for the grounds below the 27-story structure to include a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning center, exhibition space, and a theater.
The Wright Image Group, founded in 2006, believes that the monument, expected to be visible for several miles from the intersection of Interstates 70 and 75, will serve as inspiration for millions of people throughout the world, while standing as a reminder of Ohio’s place as the birthplace of aviation.
The group’s website listed accomplishments toward its goal achieved in 2017 including initial design; commitment of land and initial soil sampling; highway and FAA approvals; wind tunnel testing; engaging structural engineers for the project; and receiving the endorsement of state and local government, including $250,000 authorized by the state of Ohio. Most of the $21 million in funding, however, is to be raised from individuals, corporations, and other private entities.
Initiatives in the works heading into 2018 included legislation for an Ohio Aviation Hall of Fame, a STEM program partnership, final zoning and site approvals, and establishing partnerships with major donors, the group’s website said.