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Grimes Field

Urbana's municipal airport, Grimes Field, shines its beacon on the city's aviation heritage. The airport was given to the city in 1943 by Warren G. Grimes, the Father of Aviation Lighting and founder in 1933 of Grimes Manufacturing Co., which produced lights for every American World War II combat plane. The company continues to operate in Urbana, now as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Honeywell, a leader in commercial and military aviation lighting.

Honoring the legacy of Mr. Grimes and his company, the Grimes Flying Lab Foundation hangar at the airport--a part of the National Aviation Heritage Area--displays company memorabilia and lighting products, and the jewel of the museum, the newly restored Grimes Flying Lab (

The Flying Lab--a Beech 18 that served in the Air Force as a C-45H--was the fourth of a series of airplanes used by Grimes engineers to test and evaluate aircraft exterior lighting systems in flight.

The airport also features the new Champaign Aviation Museum, which displays World War II era aircraft. A B-17 Flying Fortress is currently being restored to flying condition by volunteers at the airport ( The project will be moved into the museum.

In 2008, the nation's second oldest regional fly-in, the Mid-Eastern Regional Fly-in (MERFI), made Grimes Field its new home. MERFI is held the last weekend of August.

Pilots and motorists alike come in for a landing to enjoy the Airport Cafe's appetizing breakfast, lunch and dinner menus--open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday (closed Monday).

Grimes Field
1636 N. Main St.

Urbana, Ohio 43078

Phone Number(s)

Local Number: (937) 652-4319

Special Hours: Refer to Web site for hours


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B-17 Restoration

Volunteers work on restoration of a B-17 bomber at Grimes Field in Urbana.

DiscoverOhio Itineraries

  • Take Flight with Ohio's Aviation History
    by Discover Ohio

    From the founders of flight to the first American to orbit the Earth, Ohio has been at the forefront of aviation. So strap in and take off for a tour of the state’s rich aviation and space exploration history.

    Begin at the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum to see the intertwined history of land and air transportation. This museum entertains with engaging exhibits and activities. Next visit the MAPS Air Museum, dedicated to military aviation. Witness exhibits of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first group of African-American military aviators in World War II, alongside other aircraft of various periods. 

    Then travel to the International Women’s Air & Space Museum, which pays tribute to the achievements of women in aviation and space. Learn about famous women like Amelia Earhart and Jackie Cochran. Visit the the museum dedicated to the first man to set foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong. On display, are the Gemini 8 spacecraft in which Armstrong flew and Apollo 11 artifacts. In the museum's Astro-theater, multimedia presentations of the sights and sounds of space unfold against a starry background.

    Ohio’s space history continues with your visit to the NASA Glenn Visitor Center at the Great Lakes Science Center. Stop at Grimes Field, Urbana’s municipal airport, for a tour of a museum devoted to Warren Grimes, who is known as the father of the aircraft lighting industry.

    See where aviation was born at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. The area tells the story of brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright, and Paul Laurence Dunbar. A critical stop on the Ohio aviation tour is a visit to the National Museum of the United States Air Force with more than 400 aerospace vehicles.

    The final stop is the Tri-State Warbird Museum near Cincinnati. Watch World War II military aircraft, nicknamed ‘Warbirds,’ take to the skies as they did while defending the country decades ago.

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