Wilbur and Orville Wright invented the airplane in Dayton and built America’s first airplane factory there in 1910. The Model B Flyer was the Wright Company’s first production model and the one on which many of America’s pioneer aviators learned to fly. With support from the National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA), Wright B Flyer plans to complete the project in the original Wright Company factory, which still stands on West Third Street in Dayton.
Wright B Flyer Inc. is using advanced engineering software to replicate a century-old airplane design, thanks to a donation from Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. and 3DVision Technologies, its Cincinnati-based reseller. Dassault and 3DVision Technologies donated a license for the professional grade of SolidWorks to support Wright B Flyer’s project to build a new lookalike of the Wright brothers’ first factory-built airplane, the Wright Model B Flyer. The new airplane will replace the organization’s current one, which has been flying for more than 30 years.
SolidWorks will enable the all-volunteer, nonprofit Wright B Flyer to use world-class engineering software in making an airplane that resembles a pioneer flying machine but uses modern materials and meets modern air safety standards.
“This is the same kind of software used to make the most advanced aircraft and space vehicles, said Jay Jabour, Wright B Flyer president and a retired Air Force brigadier general who directed major aircraft programs. “SolidWorks brings our design to life on the computer screen, and it integrates all the engineering data we need to make every part and ensure everything fits together,” he said.
In addition to testing the form and fit of parts before they’re made, SolidWorks will allow Wright B Flyer to print out detailed engineering drawings for its volunteer builders and keep track of the building progress. This is especially important as Wright B Flyer works with Experimental Aircraft Association chapters around the country that have volunteered to build parts of the airplane. EAA, an organization of more than 180,000 amateur airplane builders and aviation enthusiasts, is supporting the Wright B Flyer project with publicity and chapter outreach.
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“A flight on the Wright B Flyer is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Todd Majeski, president of 3DVision Technologies, who flew on the airplane in October. “3DVision Technologies is pleased to support this program to ensure future generations have the same opportunity to learn about the birth of America’s aviation industry.”
Based at Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport, the Wright B Flyer symbolizes Ohio’s and America’s aviation heritage at air shows, parades and other events. The organization also offers aviation enthusiasts a chance to experience the wind-in-your-hair sensations of pioneer flight with an orientation ride on the two-seat, open-air biplane.