Important Places in Aerospace & Aviation Innovation & Development

Detroit Motor City

A lot of us fly at least once a year for vacation and many of us even more frequently for business.

But have you ever thought about the plane you’re in…

Where was it made?

Who designed it?

Why won’t my bag fit under the seat in front of me?

We’ve dedicated every article this month to the aviation and aerospace industries and the tremendous economic impact on our country and the world. Including a current look at the entire aerospace market sector. In this article we take you to the places where it all began.

Ever hear of Jet City?

While there are cities like Orlando, San Diego, and Oahu that rely on the aviation industry for tourism dollars, others are historical hubs of aerospace and aviation with thousands of manufacturing and engineering jobs tied to aviation and airplanes too.

When people in this country, or even around the world, hear the words – “Motor City”– what do they think of? Cars And what city comes to mind…

Detroit Motor City Sign

Detroit, of course.




How about Cheesecake?

NY Cheesecake

I n the U.S., that usually brings to mind New York City.




How about barbecue?
Three Little Pigs BBQ Sign

Memphis, St. Louis, Kansas City, or maybe the whole state of Texas?

What about technology and computers?

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco Golden Gate

Of course most think — Silicon Valley, i.e. San Francisco.

So, what do you think of when you think of Seattle?


Space Needle

Bill Gates and company have certainly had a massive global impact on our lives and culture.

Maybe you’re not a tech geek, you’re a sports fan and the Seahawks’ recent Super Bowl win came to mind or you thought of the storied history of the Mariners.

Music lover? You’re thinking Hendrix or Heart – Maybe, grunge rock – Nirvana and Pearl Jam.

Or maybe coffee is your thing and you’ve got Starbucks on your mind.

Did the words, “Jet City” ever cross your mind?

Boeing Seahawks Airplane

As it turns out, this was Seattle’s nickname long before any of the rest. As the home of Boeing, Seattle has a long history of manufacturing and innovation in aviation and aerospace.

Boeing is a fascinating and dynamic company and has had a tremendous impact on the aviation industry and the growth of Seattle. You can delve deeper into the Boeing’s pioneering years in aerospace before 1930 or read the whole story of their aerospace innovation on the Boeing website.

When you think of early aerospace and aviation pioneers Kansas surely comes to mind?

Kansas Carry On Wayward Son

Map of USA Highlighting KansasNot the 70s rock band

Kansas…The State.

Still, No? Well it should.

Wichita, Kansas was once the Air Capital of the World. During the early part of the 20th Century Wichita was home to dozens of aircraft companies including Cessna, Beechcraft, and Mooney. All of whom are synonymous with aviation and are still turning out airplanes today. An estimated 250,000 aircraft have been manufactured in Wichita since Clyde Cessna began making planes there in 1916.

You can see more of Kansas’ rich history online at Wings Over Kansas, a fantastic site that documents the legacy and impact Kansas has had on our nation and the aviation and aerospace industry as a whole.

What about the birthplace of all aviation and aerospace?

Dayton Ohio AviationWhere did it all start?

On the Outer Banks a top the sandy hills of Kitty Hawk? Nope.

Aviation’s pioneering brothers developed the technology that would change the world right in the heart of U.S. manufacturing in a Midwest bike shop in Dayton, Ohio.

You can still visit the original shop and learn about the brothers at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park.

As you plan your next Midwestern family vacation, don’t forget to take a day or two and visit the National Museum of the US Air Force  , also located in Dayton, where you’ll get a detailed view of the history of military aviation and an up close look at our earliest airborne defense force.

“Make sure your seat backs & tray tables are in their full upright, locked position…”

So, the next time you’re squeezed into that middle seat hoping your neighbor doesn’t dump their coffee on you…take a minute to find out what kind of aircraft you are on.

Who built it? Where was it made?

Think about the people and the places that helped put you in that seat.

There was a lot of time, ingenuity, and hard work we take for granted that brought this technology from the pages of science fiction into being commonplace. And, if you have a chance, take the time to visit cities we talked about and learn a little more about their place in our national aviation history and how they helped shape the aerospace industry and our modern world.