VANDALIA — Butler Township resident Dan Patterson was the featured speaker at the February 9 dinner meeting of the Vandalia Lions Club. Patterson has written a number of books on the various facets of Aviation History. He spoke on his 40th book, which is nearing completion, on Almost a Century of Dayton Area Airport History, starting as a small terminal at the corner of Route 40 and Dixie Drive in Vandalia.
A more permanent facility was built further north on Dixie, which served until construction of the present James M. Cox Dayton Airport. Notables such as Gov. Cox, Edward Deeds, and Charles Kettering promoted the local economic interests with the US Government, getting Dayton as a stop on the Coast-to-Coast Air Mail Route.
This led to the first passenger Airline, TWA, coming to Dayton. The same local leaders , including Patterson, were instrumental in bringing military aviation to the area by purchasing 5,000 acres of land and donating it to the government. This is now Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The current book is titled Leadership With Historic Vision but the publisher may make some changes.
Patterson is also working on a project which reviews American pilots flying with the French Air Corps during World War I long before the United States entered the war. Their unit was called the Lafayett Escadrille. It started with 38 men and later grew to 200. The French really appreciated this, and they built a Memorial where 49 airmen are buried just outside of Paris. It is very impressive and is similar to the World War II Memorial in Washington.