Aviation in Indiana - Focus

Indiana's aviation history includes many firsts--some are provided throughout this issue. Hoosiers have been part of many other significant events and activities.

This issue provides an introduction to the rich aviation history that exists in communities throughout the state. "You be the historian," at the bottom of this page, suggests some ways that students--and other readers--can explore and document their local aviation history.

On page 3, two maps provide a 1944 snapshot-view of the effect of aviation in Indiana. The maps are part of a report that resulted in the creation of the Aeronautics Commission of Indiana in 1945.

On page 4, a three-part approach is begun in presenting aspects of Indiana's story. At the bottom of the page is a national/international timeline to provide context for the Indiana story; it continues through page 14. U.S. entries are in blue in order to distinguish the national story more easily. On pages 4-8, an Indiana timeline is printed above the national/international timeline. It highlights some of Indiana's aviation history. It provides page references to related articles in this issue. At the top of these pages, several topics have been covered in more depth.

On pages 9-14, six Indiana historical markers relating to aviation history have been highlighted. The Indiana Historical Bureau administers the historical marker program. Six communities have commemorated and celebrated their local history with these markers. Readers are encouraged to inquire about the program. A searchable database of markers is available on the Historical Bureau Web site

On page 15, "Selected Resources" is provided. Readers should note additional sources with individual articles throughout the issue. Readers are also encouraged to explore the Internet. Several Web sites are cited in this issue. Web sites were also located that expand on topics covered--or not able to be covered--in this issue.

The back cover illustration of Hoosier astronaut David Wolf seems to be an appropriate close to this issue, which starts with the first airmail in 1859. Aviation in Indiana will continue to make history far into the future.

You Be the Historian

Investigate which airport(s) and aviation industry(ies) have been important in your community or area. Gather available resources for preservation.

Begin an oral history project to collect information from individuals involved in past and present aviation activities--pilots, engineers, mechanics, executives, etc. Include the experiences of people who flew as passengers in the early years of commercial service; explore similarities with and differences from present-day flight on airlines.

Produce materials to make others aware of the history that you have researched: for example, articles for local publications, exhibits for local institutions, or videos or oral tapes for local media.

Work with your public library--or other repository--to preserve and make available to others the resources that have resulted from your investigations.

Select a significant site or event in your local aviation history and apply to obtain an Indiana historical marker to celebrate your local history.