COLUMBUS, Ohio – In 2017, The Ohio State University celebrates the 100th anniversary of its aviation education program and the 75th anniversary of its airport.
For 100 years Ohio State has played an integral part in the advancement of the aeronautics field, and has evolved one of the nation’s premier aviation education, flight training and research programs.
In 1917, Ohio State established the School of Aeronautics in response to a request from the War Department to establish military aeronautics programs around the country. In May of that year, the university welcomed its first squadron of 16 cadets, who received instruction in aerodynamics, aircraft maintenance and basic airmanship to prepare them to serve in World War I. At that time, an aeronautics building was located on the southeast corner of West 19th Avenue and Neil Avenue in order to provide classroom instruction. The cadets also received flight instruction at the university’s first air field, located on the current site of Ohio Stadium.
After Ohio Stadium was built in 1922, the university utilized other airports in the area surrounding campus until an investment was made to purchase property for construction of its own airport. On November 5, 1942, the first airplane landed at The Ohio State University Airport, marking its official opening. One year later, University Trustees dedicated the airport as Don Scott Field in honor of an Ohio State All-American athlete who was involved in a fatal aircraft accident in England while preparing for World War II.
Owned and operated by the College of Engineering, The Ohio State University Airport is home to interdisciplinary education and research. The airport also supports the central Ohio community through an extensive outreach and engagement program, as well as access to the global marketplace.
As Ohio’s fourth-busiest airport in terms of take-offs and landings, The Ohio State University Airport delivers $157 million in direct and indirect benefits to central Ohio, according to a study commissioned in 2012. Local companies, including Fortune 500 corporations, use the airport as a primary business travel hub. MedFlight critical care helicopters, U.S. Army Reserve paratrooper training and Ohio State Highway Patrol aviation operations also utilize airport facilities.
In July 2015, the Austin E. Knowlton Foundation donated $10 million to upgrade aviation, education and research facilities at the airport. Construction will begin this summer.
The university’s aviation programs are managed today out of its Center for Aviation Studies, established in 2011 and awarded the nation’s most outstanding collegiate aviation program in 2015 and 2016 by the National Intercollegiate Flying Association. More than 500 students a year are pursuing aviation degrees, training for professional pilot certifications, performing federally sponsored research and engaging in community outreach programming through the Center for Aviation Studies, as well as the College of Engineering, Fisher College of Business, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Moritz College of Law and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs.
Throughout the year, Ohio State will host numerous events to commemorate both anniversaries as well as its expanding role as a leader in aviation. Check https://aviation.osu.edu/ and https://osuairport.org/ for details.
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