National Aviation Hall of Fame Medal

The Wright Brothers author David McCullough wins the NAHF Combs Gates Award

Wright story tellers keep the Wilbur and Orville’s epic story alive for new generations

You know his voice.

You’ve heard it on PBS—narrating history in The Civil War, hosting American Experience. You’ve heard it on the big screen in Seabiscuit. You’ve read his storytelling in Pulitzer Prize-winning, best-sellers Truman and John Adams. And you know his most recent work is the story about two bike shop owners and the birth of flight, The Wright Brothers.

David McCullough is that story-telling voice, on screen and on paper. For his 2015 The Wright Brothers biography, David McCullough has just been awarded the 14th annual National Aviation Hall of Fame Combs Gates Award.

And from The Wright Brothers, the Wright story telling continues; Tom Hanks’ production company, Playtone, has licensed the movie rights to McCullough’s book for an HBO miniseries.

You remember Hanks’ ability to tell stories, his 2001 HBO mini-series Band of Brothers won Emmy, Golden Globe, American Film Institute, and Peabody awards. Some Cincinnati native named Spielberg directed Band of Brothers, and is projected to direct The Wright Brothers mini-series. (Make sense…Cincinnati is only 50 miles from the birthplace of aviation.)

The Wright Brothers mini-series follows another Tom Hanks’ aviation starring role in Sully, director Clint Eastwood’s movie based on Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger piloting US Airways Flight 1549 to safe emergency water landing on the Hudson River, January 15, 2009. All 155 passengers and crew survived the landing and recovery.

The Wright Brothers mini-series will also be McCullough’s third production with HBO. Playtone and HBO turned McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize winner John Adams into a miniseries. HBO produced Truman, the award winning TV film based on McCullough’s other Pulitzer Prize winner.

McCullough once noted, “History is not about dates or memorizing the tenets of obscure provisos. History is about people.” The two young men McCullough wrote about in The Wright Brothers made history in the West Third at Williams neighborhood in Dayton. According to their website, “NAHA nominated McCullough’s book for the award because it has rekindled interest in the Wright brothers and boosted awareness that Wilbur and Orville lived in Dayton and did most of their research and development work in the Dayton area.”

Check out West Third At Williams. It’s wear history, made in the U.S.A.

(Enough of the shameless plug, back to Mr. McCullough).

The NAHF Combs Gate Award is named for Harry Combs and Charles C. Gates, Jr., pioneers and entrepreneurs in the business of modern aviation. The National Aviation Hall of Fame is a NAHA partner. McCullough will receive the award October 2nd in Orlando, FL. More on his award and presentation.

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