Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler
Transport yourself back in time to when flying was a wonder and a joy to behold. You can see the fine details of the landscape below – things you never noticed from a plane before because everything is up close and personal. Feel the wind on your face, and smell the flowers and fields below. The roar of the engine is all you can hear. Easy to fly … rugged and sturdy … and above all else, dependable … WACO earned the right to rank with the greatest airplanes ever built. The result was an aircraft that offered thrilling levels of performance together with luxurious accommodation. This is what WACO airplanes were designed for.
Founded in 1921 as Weaver Aircraft Company and located in Lorain, OH, the WACO Aircraft Company relocated to Troy in March 1923. It was the first aircraft company to use assembly line production and shock strut landing gear. Leading all civilian aircraft production at a ratio of two to one from 1927-1929, the company had sales distributors in 24 countries worldwide. The United States government became the prime contractor of WACO Aircraft Company’s troop/cargo gliders (CG-4A) used extensively during World War II. The company also managed the United States Army’s glider program for 15 companies that produced gliders nationwide. The last WACO, model W “Aristocraft” was built in Troy in June 1947.
The WACO Air Museum and Learning Center is located at 1865 S Co Rd 25A in Troy, OH and is Miami County’s best-kept secret. The WACO Aircraft Company was the largest manufacturer of civil aircraft in the country in the late 1920’s and early 30’s and was the region’s largest employer. The museum is dedicated to the preservation of the WACO Aircraft Company and the employees that made it great during the Golden Age of Flight. WACO is located right in the middle of the Aviation Trail which goes from Dayton to Wapakoneta, where there are numerous sites of interest.
The Learning Center strives to promote STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) through its many programs for students throughout the year. Lectures of aviation interest held each month draw quite a crowd. The highlight of the entire year is a photographers dream with the WACO Homecoming and Fly-In. This is the opportunity for WACO’s to return to their origins. Many other vintage aircraft also fly in to be part of the weekend celebration. There will be a children’s tent on Saturday with lots of activities. The Barnstormers radio control group thrill the crowd with a demonstration of their power and agility. A group of Model A cars will also be on hand to view and photograph. WACO bi-plane rides will take place all weekend.
Some of what you will see at the museum:
- 2 hangers with a total of 7 complete aircraft & 2 glider noses
- Mock up of factory with genuine tools & office equipment
- WACO simulator to practice your aviation skills
- Picture time-line of all WACO’s produced
- Display of Hartzell propellers
- “Brukmobile” and fuel truck
- Glider information display
- Gift shop with snacks
- Civil Air Patrol display
- Engines from various models of WACO’s
- Lots of pictures and other WACO memorabilia
WACO is handicap accessible and has 2 wheelchairs on site. Group tours are also available and can be scheduled by calling 937-335-9226. Visit http://www.homegrowngreat.com/ for more information about WACO and the surrounding area.