Chanute Biplane to be Memorialized by The Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana

Northwest Indiana has always been a hub of innovation. Many of the great minds behind these ideas have been honored by The Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana. However, this Thursday, July 14, the organization will commemorate one Northwest Indiana innovation that changed the entire world.


The Octave Chanute biplane glider was an early model airplane tested on the Indiana Dunes that later informed the Wright brothers’ design for flight. This week, a life-size model of the glider will come home to Northwest Indiana to be displayed at Ivy Tech Community College’s Gary Campus.


The dedication ceremony put on by The Society will begin at 11 a.m. and will feature several presentations by area politicians, such as Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and state representative Charlie Brown, D-Gary; “Founding Pilots” who contributed to making this dream possible; and Members of The Society. Additionally, the famed Tuskegee Red Tails will perform a flyover at the event. The ceremony will also serve to honor the late Dr. Richard Sussman, chair emeritus of The Society.


The memorial where the glider will rest has been designated an official Bicentennial Legacy Project for the state of Indiana. Behind the model, a large mural replicating John Rush’s “Flight” painting will be displayed above the glider on the wall of Ivy Tech’s south building. This is the home of The Society of Innovators, the largest project of the Gerald I. Lamkin I & E Center, Ivy Tech Community College.


The day’s festivities will serve as an all-too-appropriate opening of Innovation Way, a display depicting the early history of aviation, also located in Ivy Tech’s south building.


The Society hopes that the memorial will serve as a reminder to all in Northwest Indiana that innovation can spark change in the world and that those coming from this seven-county region can make a difference through creativity and innovation.


For more information on the event or on The Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana, visit




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