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Dayton in Montgomery County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Huffman Prairie

1904 - 1905

 

(Inventing Flight: The Centennial Celebration Series #6)

 
Huffman Prairie Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., August 2, 2009
1. Huffman Prairie Marker
Inscription.
The hawk which now takes his flight over the top of the wood was at first, perchance, only a leaf which fluttered in its aisles. -Henry David Thoreau

After their first successful flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903, the Wright brothers could no longer afford extended stays so far from home. They needed an isolated field close by. Huffman Prairie was a hundred-acre pasture seven miles east of Dayton - a quick trip on the interurban railway. The soggy ground was riddled with grassy hummocks, the wind was stifled by surrounding trees, and space was tight, but it would do. Torrence Huffman gave the brothers permission to use the field as long as they shooed away his cattle before take-off.

The brothers began flying at Huffman Prairie in the spring of 1904. Most flights were short, however, and the plane undulated out of control. Though they flew 105 flights that year, they logged less than 50 minutes in the air. The 1905 flying season began much like 1904, with erratic flying and crash landings. After Orville survived a particularly frightening crash in mid-July, the brothers made changes. They incorporated all they had learned and some educated guesses into a new plane.

The improvement showed immediately. Debuting in late August, the Wright Flyer III consistently flew multiple circles over the prairie.
Centennial Park Markers image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., August 2, 2009
2. Centennial Park Markers
Four markers, from nearest to farthest, are John Glenn, Wright-Patterson AFB, McCook Field, & Huffman Prairie. Looking SSW, with downtown Dayton in background and Wright Brothers statues at left center distance, in front of the green pedestrian bridge.
Accidents were rare. Often, the brothers landed only when the plane ran out of gas. By the end of the year, their airplane was sound and reliable, a practical flying machine. In two short seasons, the Wright Brothers had taken powered flight from erratic puddle-jumping to sustained, graceful soaring over Huffman Prairie.
 
Erected 2003 by Inventing Flight and Dayton Power & Light Company Foundation.
 
Location. 39° 46.093′ N, 84° 11.205′ W. Marker is in Dayton, Ohio, in Montgomery County. Click for map. Marker is in Centennial Park, within Deeds Point MetroPark, off Webster Street, about 425 feet NNE of the confluence of the Mad and Great Miami Rivers. Marker is at or near this postal address: 510 Webster Street, Dayton OH 45402, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. McCook Field (here, next to this marker); Wright-Patterson AFB (a few steps from this marker); The Solution: Wing Warping (a few steps from this marker); John Glenn (a few steps from this marker); Sir George Cayley (within shouting distance of this marker); Montgolfier Brothers (within shouting distance of this marker); Leonardo da Vinci (within shouting distance of this marker); Chinese Kites (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Dayton.
 
Also see . . .
1. Huffman Prairie. (Submitted on April 7, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Visit Huffman Prairie. (Submitted on April 7, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Categories. 20th CenturyAir & SpaceExplorationHeroesMan-Made FeaturesNotable EventsNotable PersonsNotable PlacesScience & Medicine
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 632 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
 
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