You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Local firm working to make Wright Brothers film a reality

The Wright Brothers may be coming to the big screen, with strong Dayton connections.

In the last week of his life, David Lightle, chief executive of Dayton’s Wright Brothers USA, signed a contract with a Hollywood film production company to start work on an animated feature film based in part on a 2004 children’s book by Timothy Gaffney, Wee and the Wright Brothers.

Lightle then went off to China, where he had many business dealings. He died there Aug. 28 at the age of 58.


The contract he signed before he left defines roles for the production company, Mechaniks, and Wright Brothers USA, which has drafted sketches for characters featured the movie.

Lightle also agreed that a writing credit would go to Boris Damast, a Mechaniks principal, to help develop the screenplay, said Kenneth Botts, Wright Brothers USA president and one of Lightle’s surviving partners.

Lightle’s screenplay follows a mouse named “Wee” as he accompanies the Wright Brothers work toward their first historic flight. In the story, other mice and the Wrights contend with birds who don’t want humans to fly.

RELATED: Wright Brothers USA co-founder dies

RELATED: Three questions with David Lightle

RELATED: New book raises Wrights’ profile

The first task is to find voice talent to commit to roles in the movie, said Botts and Doug Knopp, Wright Brothers USA chief designer and creative director. Then work begins to attract investment support for what they expected to be a $60 million to $80 million project.

With the right talent and support, Botts and Knopp believe the film could attract a studio and a distributor for domestic release in 2019 and for release in China in 2020, that country’s “year of the mouse.”

“We’re waiting for names (of cast) members before we go to the investment community,” Botts said.

The Dayton firm has developed the characters for a year and will be listed in the film as executive producers, he said.

The news comes at a time when David McCullough’s best-selling book, The Wright Brothers, has brought new international attention to the Wrights. HBO and Tom Hanks’ production company, Playtone, last year bought the rights to that book.

“I think one of the things that made this a viable project is largely the attention the Wright Brothers are getting, ” said Gaffney, a spokesman for the National Aviation Heritage Alliance and a former Dayton Daily News reporter.

Gaffney said he and Lightle spoke many times about his screenplay based on his book, but Lightle did all the writing, and he “doggedly” pursued producers for a film.

“We all want to really fulfill Dave’s dream,” Gaffney said. “We kind of feel that way. It’s like something you want to do for Dave.”

Lightle, Botts and Knopp founded the Wright Brothers USA LLC, guiding the licensing of the Wright brothers’ name and images to sell carefully selected products — mainly bicycles and watches — for two years before staring an online commerce site in May 2015,

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Business

Ohio gas prices increase
Ohio gas prices increase

DAYTON —  Average retail gasoline prices in Dayton have risen 9.1 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.18 per gallon on Sunday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 391 gas outlets in Dayton. This compares with the national average that has fallen 2.6 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.25 per gallon, according to gasoline...
Misty Blues ready to ‘do something crazy’ at Dayton Air Show
Misty Blues ready to ‘do something crazy’ at Dayton Air Show

Bambi Knight jumps out of planes to get over her fear of heights. The Park City, Utah resident is a member of the Misty Blues all-women sky diving demonstration team set to perform this weekend at the Vectren Dayton Air Show. “I have a fear of heights so I went out to conquer my fear,” she said in an interview at Dayton International Airport...
Snapchat introduces location-sharing with Snap Map
Snapchat introduces location-sharing with Snap Map

Snapchat is introducing a new way to locate your friends with the Snap Map.  The social media platform announced the news this week, revealing that the location-sharing feature will allow friends to find each other or anyone in the world using its map.  “We've built a whole new way to explore the world! See what's happening, find your...
Dayton businesswoman lands on national radio show
Dayton businesswoman lands on national radio show

A Dayton business woman was spotlighted Friday on a nationally syndicated radio show.  Shawon Brown-Gullette, the owner of Dayton Trichology Hair Loss Control Center and Infinitee Salon & Spa, appeared on the Tom Joyner Morning Show to talk about her involvement with Pantene Gold Series. Tom Joyner airs weekday mornings on 92.1 WROU...
Miami Twp. real estate firm buys $65M Denver complex
Miami Twp. real estate firm buys $65M Denver complex

The Connor Group, a Miami Twp. real estate investment firm, has expanded into the Denver area. The company has acquired for $65 million the upscale apartment complex Broadstone Gardens at Cherry Creek. Broadstone Gardens at Cherry Creek was built in 2014 in the Cherry Creek subdivision. The apartments offer nearby locations such as the Cherry Creek...
More Stories