Troy, OH Area – October 2015 – Airplanes and Airstreams

With a few 2015 vacation days left I opted to take a Thursday off and head back out to western Ohio for a couple of unique stops. First on the agenda the Waco (pronounced like taco) Aircraft Museum in Troy, Ohio. Waco produced planes between 1919 and 1947, starting as the Weaver Aircraft Company, hence Waco. Once they began they became known as manufacturers of reliable, rugged airplanes popular with postal services, explorers and others.

Their first closed cabin models began in the 1930s, before that they were all open cockpit bi-planes. During the second world war they made a number of gliders, as well as some trainers. The museum celebrates all of the above with a nice collection of artifacts and complete airplanes situated along side a grass runway.

The initial building contains models, small artifacts, a library and a couple of planes. The second building contains some beautifully restored wooden airplanes, as well as a aviation fuel truck from the ‘teens’.

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On the way to our final stop of the day we passed through a small town called Lockington. It is named so after a series of locks that were built between 1833-1845 on the Miami and Erie Canal, consisting of seven locks along with a turn around basin, unique for the time. The locks stretch for almost 4 miles.

There are three in the Ohio Historical Site in the town.

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Our final stop for the day was the Airstream Factory in Jackson Center, Ohio. Airstream has been building RV trailers here since the 1950s after starting out in California in the 1920s. After hanging out in the service counter lounge for about 30 minutes our tour of about 12 people took off, lead by two retired workers who had worked for Airstream for 40+ years.

We happened to be there on a day there was no production, which was disappointing in some ways but worked out in others as we could go into each work space and inspect the process closely, just not live. Unfortunately they are fairly restrictive on photographs as well, but did permit any you liked outside, and a few locations inside.

They walked us through the entire manufacturing process, showing us the rolls of the famous silver aluminum, the framing process, quality control and finally the interior fit out. Across the street is another factory that they build out the motorhomes based on a Mercedes Benz van chassis. All in all it was very interesting, free, and a good way to spend a couple of hours. I look forward to going back some day when production is running.