Aug. 19—A new partnership has taken flight to encourage aviation tourism in the Dayton region.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and the National Aviation Heritage Area (NAHA) have teamed up to offer special badges through a Pilot Passport for visits to airports and sites in the heritage area.
AOPA is the largest organization for general aviation in the United States, Mackensie Wittmer, executive director of NAHA, said.
"This is the first time AOPA has had non airport sites in their passport and I believe that acknowledges the importance of the sites that we have here," she said.
The National Aviation Heritage Area encompasses eight counties in Ohio including Montgomery, Greene, Miami, Clark, Warren, Champaign, Shelby and Auglaize counties.
Download AOPA's free Pilot Passport app to check into a combination of airports, museums and other locations in the heritage area that have historical aviation significance and earn points that lead to badges.
Visit a combination of 10 museums and 10 airports and First Flight Airport in Kill Devil Hills, NC to earn a gold National Aviation Heritage Area badge.
Those who check in at eight each will earn a silver badge and four will earn a bronze badge.
The passport is not only for pilots or AOPA members. Any aviation enthusiast can visit the sites and use the passport to earn badges.
"They will find one of a kind experiences and sights that share the authentic story of the creation of aviation they cannot experience anywhere else in the world," Wittmer said.
The free app can be downloaded here.
Visiting and checking in at these Dayton-area airports and sites will count toward the badges:
Landing facilities — Grand Lake St. Marys Seaplane Base — Neil Armstrong Airport — Grimes Field — Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport — Greene County-Lewis A. Jackson Regional Airport — Piqua/Hartzell Field — Waco Field — Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport — James M. Cox Dayton International Airport — Moraine Air Park — Sidney Municipal Airport — Red Stewart Airfield
Museums and historic sites — Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park Visitor Center and Aviation Trail Parachute Museum — Wright Brothers National Museum at Carillon Historical Park — Wright "B" Flyer — National Museum of the United States Air Force — National Aviation Hall of Fame — WACO Air Museum — Champaign Aviation Museum — Grimes Flying Lab — Armstrong Air and Space Museum — Huffman Prairie Flying Field — Wright State University Libraries' Special Collections and Archives — Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum