Thursday, April 5, 2012

Grandpa & Orville

I wrote about notable people I’ve met here & here, but Grandpa Locker met someone I think is a lot more famous than anyone I've met.  It happened at the Vandalia airport during World War Two.

Grandpa Locker was working at the Aero Products (later called Inland) plant on North Dixie Drive in Vandalia during the war.  The factory had been tasked with making aircraft propellers.  One day, late in the war, they reached some production milestone. 

At that time, the airport terminal was on the east side of the airport, right across Dixie Drive from the Inland plant.  Many of the plant’s workers went across the street where they had a ceremony celebrating the milestone and mounting the propeller onto an aircraft.

As they were getting everything ready, Grandpa was standing at the end of one line of workers when another man walked up and stopped next to him.  Grandpa assumed it was another worker from the plant so, without actually looking at the man he said, “Nice day, isn’t it”

As the man replied, “Yes, it is, isn’t it?” Grandpa looked up at him.  He instantly recognized him since he had often seen his picture in the paper.  Both he and Grandpa were Dayton-born and raised.  It was Orville Wright, younger of the two Wright Brothers, the first aviators.

“I’m glad,” Mr. Wright continued, “that it didn’t rain.”

He and Grandpa exchanged pleasantries for a few more moments before he went up to the speakers’ platform.  Grandpa never said, but I imagine Wright was there, not only for his fame in the aviation community but also because the plane they were attaching the propeller to was powered by a Wright Company engine.


  1. Great stories, Tom. What a great idea. I have enjoyed all the stories you have put up. I'm hearing them all for the first time. Keep it up and thank you.

  2. Another good story. Thanks for sharing.
    God bless you and yours.
    Cousin Suzanne

  3. Love the stories Tom ...keep them coming!!! Cathy