Who could have known that accomplishments in the world of aviation were incubated right here in the Golden Triangle?
The Oktibbeha County Historic and Genealogical Museum conducted a roundtable discussion yesterday, bringing together some of the great minds of the century to review the key role played by area citizens to bring aviation to where it is today.
For example. Did you know that the very first airport in the state of Mississippi was located northeast of West Point? Payne Field dates to World War I when it served as a training ground for fighter pilots. Today, there is only one lone concrete lane remaining in an open field to remind us of another time.
But in 1918, it was a bustling center of activity. The New York Times reported that “stunts” performed by young pilots in West Point were astounding. Unfortunately, it added there were caskets stacked up at the depot of young men whose stunts went sour.
David Raspet of California was on the panel to discuss the activities of his father’s research at what is now The Raspet Flight Institute at Mississippi State University. The senior Dr. Raspet gained worldwide recognition for his 1940 study of birds which revolutionized aviation and developed the technology for unmanned aircraft, widely in use today.
Consider his ‘sail plane’ below and it’s birdlike characteristics.