DAYTON, Ohio – NASA said it fully supports plans to build a huge monument to the Wright Brothers at a high-profile interstate highway interchange near their Dayton hometown – and has even offered to help conduct computer testing of the monument’s design.
“We have support of it even at the level of the administrator of NASA,” Ray Lugo, director of the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, told The Dayton Daily News for a story published Wednesday.
The Glenn Research Center plans to run tests on a computer model of the 250-foot-tall monument using NASA simulation codes that vary wind speed, direction, temperature and air density, Lugo said.
Lugo said the model also could be tested using NASA codes for ice formation on airplanes to determine the effects of winter weather. It will be done under the umbrella of a Space Act Agreement, which is a legal agreement between NASA and a private entity, Lugo said. The agreement will be framed in the coming months, he said.
The cost of the testing has not been determined, but it’s expected to be less than $100,000.
The proposed Wright Monument is an oversized replica of Orville and Wilbur Wright’s 1905 Wright Flyer III atop a pedestal. It was first proposed in 2005 by the Wright Image Group, a local nonprofit organization.
The monument would be visible to motorists in more than 52 million vehicles each year and identify Dayton with the Wright brothers and the birth of aviation, officials said.
About $1 million has been raised toward the project’s estimated $12 million cost, including private donations and in-kind contributions, said group spokesman Curt Nelson.
Nelson said a physical scale model of the monument was successfully tested earlier this year by University of Dayton students using a small wind tunnel. Ohio State University Aerospace Engineering students also will perform computer analysis of wind effects on the proposed monument.