Orville and Wilbur Wright launched Dayton’s aerospace research and development industry more than a century ago when they decided to design a flying machine in their Wright Cycle Company. That legacy lives on in today in the groundbreaking work conducted by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and the Dayton Region’s thriving R&D community.
Gen. Mark Welsh, former Air Force Chief of Staff said it best:
“Air power starts with an idea. An idea that you then take and turn into reality. You figure out how to buy it, how to build it, how to field it, how to maintain it, how to improve it, and eventually you figure out how to replace it. Our Air Force simply does not fly, fight and win without you. So if you don’t remember anything else I say today, remember this: Air power. Its DNA comes from Dayton.”
That desire to try new and exciting technology and push the boundaries of known science has shaped Dayton into a region that thrives on innovation, takes pride in its creative problem-solving, and leads the country in research and development for the Air Force. The Boolean search method that drives internet search engines was developed in Dayton by LexisNexis, and daily life is filled with Dayton inventions. Our region shaped aerospace innovation, navigation systems, stealth technology and composite materials development.
The region is home to successful federal research installations, leading private businesses, non-profits and university institutes. These key players often work together on breakthrough discoveries to create new and improved products, processes and more. The military doesn’t use all the developed technologies, so the Air Force Technology Transfer office ensures these are transferred or intentionally shared with state and local governments, academia and industry. This common exchange of knowledge, expertise, equipment, and testing facilities leverages the Department of Defense (DoD) research and development investment. Through organizations like Launch Dayton, Wright Brothers Institute and The Entrepreneurs Center, private businesses large and small continue to position us as a region full of great minds and life‐enhancing products.