John Wise and Octave Chanute were some of the first in Indiana to test the theories of flight on Hoosier soil. Wise sought out balloon travel beginning in Crawfordsville, Ind. and Chanute, one of America’s foremost civil engineers, built a glider and conducted test flights in what is now Gary, Ind.
Although these individuals may be known as leaders of flight in the state, they weren’t the only ones to contribute to Indiana’s rich aviation history. Wilbur Wright, Lawrence Bell, Blanche Stuart Scott, and Amelia Earhart all began their journeys in the Hoosier state, as well as several others.
Today the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is known for racing cars, but at one time they raced balloons in 1909. The home of many aviation firsts, Indiana has now come to be known as state with several universities that have dedicated departments to aviation such as Purdue University and Indiana University as well as a state that achieves some of the highest rankings.
The Indianapolis International Airport has been recognized as the “Best Airport in North America” for the fourth time by Airports Council International as part of its annual Airport Service Quality awards for performance and excellence.
While Hoosiers have been taking flight for centuries, many residents and organizations are finding their path on the journey to discovery.