Phillip Parmalee was an important pilot during the first two decades of the twentieth century.
Parmalee was born on March 8, 1887, in Matherton, Michigan. He developed a love of flying and eventually found employment as a member of the Wright Brothers' exhibition team. As a pilot for the Wright Brothers, Parmalee set many early aviation records. On November 7, 1910, he made the world's first freight shipment by air, transporting silk cloth from Dayton, Ohio to Columbus, Ohio. Parmalee also dropped the first live bomb from an airplane and made the first wireless communication between a plane and people on the ground. In 1912, he starred in a film, A Dash Through the Clouds, where he played the role of a heroic pilot, "Slim." Parmalee died on June 1, 1912, as the result of an airplane crash in Yakima, Washington.
While not a native Ohioan, Parmalee illustrates the important role that Ohioans have played in aviation. With such important names as the Wright Brothers, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, and numerous others, Ohioans have been at the forefront of aviation history.
- Crouch, Tom D. The Giant Leap: A Chronology of Ohio Aerospace Events and Personalities, 1815-1969. Columbus: The Ohio History Connection, 1971.