The Air Progress Show, sponsored by the Aviation Committee of the Sandusky Chamber of Commerce, was held in Sandusky on August 16 and 17, 1958. Colonel Roscoe Turner was the Grand Marshal of the event.
Special events during the show included parachute jumps, a model plane contest, an F-86 military fly-by, a display of private aircraft, and an awards and recognition program. Major General Russell A. Ramsey was the Master of Ceremonies for the program held on Sunday, August 17, 1958. The first plaque awarded at the presentation program was dedicated to the memory of the “Early Birds.” The August 18, 1958 issue of the Sandusky Register reprinted the inscription of the plaque:
Dedicated in memory of those early aviation pioneers "The Early Birds.” Between the years 1910-1917, aviators Weldon B. Cooke and Tom W. Benoist had aeroplane factories and flying schools in Sandusky which had a very important part in early aviation. Also, aeroplane engines, manufactured in Sandusky by the Roberts Aviation Motor Company, were used throughout the world. To these pioneers and others who helped produce and fly these early aircraft, we do herein give honor. Awarded by The Sandusky Chamber of Commerce, Sandusky, Ohio, August 17, 1958.The plaque honoring the Early Birds is now located in Washington Park in downtown Sandusky. Plaques were also awarded to Reinhardt N. Ausmus and FrankP. Lahm, pictured below.
Reinhardt Ausmus built and flew airplanes in his youth, and he trained pilots for the United States Army during World War I. He was named the first Erie County Veterans Service Officer in 1949, and served in that position until 1969. Frank P. Lahm was known as the “nation’s first military aviator,” having served with the United States Army Air Corps and Army Air Forces from 1916 to 1941. The Lahm Airport in Mansfield, Ohio was named for him. Following the presentation of the special awards, Colonel Roscoe Turner and Ohio’s Attorney General William Saxbe gave remarks. Several high schools bands performed during the Air Progress Show, and it was estimated that attendance for the two-day event was approximately 15,000. More details about the Air Progress Show of 1958 can be found in the Official Program, housed in the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center, as well as in several issues of the Sandusky Register from August 1958, now on microfilm. Inquire at the Reference Services Desk to view these items.