Document Type

Master's Culminating Experience

Publication Date



Originally established in 1989 as the 2003 Committee, the Inventing Flight Committee was formed to honor the accomplishments of the Wright Brothers through leading the planning and implementation of the 2003 Inventing Flight Celebrations.1 Inventing Flight’s efforts will realize a lasting legacy, including long term economic impacts in the Dayton region from increases in heritage awareness, improvements in infrastructure, and the arrival of the National Park Service.

Without Inventing Flight, it is unlikely that the Dayton area would have been given the attention necessary to receive designation as a National Historic Park. This designation has and will continue to attract federal funding, increase tourism, and leverage infrastructure improvements from private funds. Although one ex ante impact estimate of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park (DAHNHP) was based on attendance assumptions not reflective of realistic short and medium-term growth estimates, attendance could continue to rise as economic conditions improve, and the National Historic Park designation could create long-term positive economic benefits for the Dayton regional economy.

Based on responses from the WSU Inventing Flight Survey, Inventing Flight visitors who planned to visit the heritage parks tended to be older, with higher planned expenditures, smaller group sizes, and similar overall experiences when compared to non-park visitors. Park visitors gave higher scores to the success of Inventing Flight in increasing aviation awareness, placing Dayton on the map, and projecting Dayton as a high technology area. Although Inventing Flight has attained several accomplishments in terms of the National Historic Park, continued marketing efforts should be implemented to capitalize on the potential for increased tourism and continued positive economic benefits.

Economic impact calculations were prepared for both historic DAHNHP attendance from 1994 to 2003 and projected attendance through 2010. The estimates are based on the expenditures of non-resident overnight park visitors, which are defined as visitors residing outside of the Dayton MSA region who choose to stay in a hotel during their visit to the DAHNHP areas. Using the RIMS II methodology, the cumulative total economic impact from 1994 to 2003 is estimated at $4.85 million. About $1.09 million of the economic impact occurred in 2003. The sizes of future economic impacts of the DAHNHP will depend largely on the growth rate of the number of non-resident overnight park visitors. In order to provide a range of estimates, several growth rates for attendance are used to calculate the economic impacts. The growth rates applied in the economic impact calculations include 2.5%, 5%, 10%, and 30%, with the 5% and 10% rates considered more realistic for short term growth. From 2004 to 2010, the projected cumulative total economic impact estimates due to expenditures of non-resident overnight park visitors range from $4.28 million at 5% growth to $5.47 million at 10% growth.