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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Dayton in Greene County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Huffman Prairie Flying Field

 
 
Huffman Prairie Flying Field Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, December 26, 2007
1. Huffman Prairie Flying Field Marker
Inscription.  Huffman Prairie Flying Field, a unit of the Dayton Heritage National Historic Park, is the site where Wilbur and Orville Wright flew and perfected the world's first practical airplane, the 1905 Wright Flyer III, after their first flights in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903. The Wright brothers mastered the principles of controlled, powered flight at Huffman Prairie during 1904 and 1905. From 1910 to 1915, they operated the Wright School of Aviation here, training many of the world's first pilots, including many military pilots.
 
Erected 2003 by The Ohio Bicentennial Commission
The Ohio Historical Society. (Marker Number 13-29.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Air & Space. In addition, it is included in the National Historic Landmarks, and the Ohio Historical Society / The Ohio History Connection series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1905.
 
Location. 39° 48.435′ N, 84° 3.802′ W. Marker is near Dayton, Ohio, in Greene County. Marker is at the intersection of Marl Road and Symmes Road
Huffman Prairie Flying Field Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, April 18, 2021
2. Huffman Prairie Flying Field Marker
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, on the right when traveling east on Marl Road. Accessed through gate 16-A from Valley Street (CR 444). Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Dayton OH 45433, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Huffman Prairie Flying Field (within shouting distance of this marker); The First Airport (within shouting distance of this marker); Commuter Flyers (within shouting distance of this marker); Birthplace of Flight (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Flying Field to Air Force Base (about 300 feet away); Trials in an Old Swamp (about 300 feet away); Miss that Tree! (approx. 0.2 miles away); Follow the Flight Path (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dayton.
 
More about this marker. Orville Wright first came to this field, not to fly, but to sketch wildflowers. Orville's 9th-grade science teacher, William Werthner, regularly brought Central High School students to Torrence Huffman's property to study the unusual plants found here.
When the Wright brothers sought a place for their next flying trials, they remembered banker Huffman's pasture. A new electric trolley line would make it easy for them to reach this relatively isolated place from their workshop downtown. Mr. Huffman let them use the field free of charge — as long as they did not disturb his cows and horses.

More than a dozen interpretive markers offer additional information along a 30 minute walk around the flying field.
 
Also see . . .  Huffman Prairie Flying Field. (Submitted on April 22, 2021, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California.)
 
Huffman Prairie Flying Field Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, December 26, 2007
3. Huffman Prairie Flying Field Marker
Huffman Prairie Flying Field image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, December 26, 2007
4. Huffman Prairie Flying Field
The world's first airport, of sorts, was this otherwise rather ordinary field. The site boasts reproductions of the hanger and storage shed, catapult launch system, and white flags marking the boundaries of the field. The Wright brothers flew around the field in a circular pattern around this open area.
Reproduction Hanger image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, December 26, 2007
5. Reproduction Hanger
Inside are exhibits explaining the use of the hanger, the control systems used on the early aircraft, and general information about the Wright brothers operations here at Huffman Prairie.
A Tough Start after Kitty Hawk image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, December 26, 2007
6. A Tough Start after Kitty Hawk
This interpretive marker discusses the early testing done by the Wright brothers in 1904. The brothers chose this location as it was away from inquisitive eyes but afforded room to make some mistakes. Of course this was also the site of the earliest airplane crashes, as illustrated in the background photograph on the marker.
National Historic Landmark image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 19, 2013
7. National Historic Landmark
Reproduction Catapult and Rail Launch System image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, December 26, 2007
8. Reproduction Catapult and Rail Launch System
Lacking the power of modern engines, the Wrights needed something to push their early aircraft into the air. They used a catapult system similar to this reproduction. A weight held under the metal frame was released and a cable system running through a set of pulleys would transfer the energy to the aircraft, throwing it down the rails and into the air.
Wright 1909 Military Flyer image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, November 19, 2006
9. Wright 1909 Military Flyer
One of the early airplanes the Wrights tested and perfected here at Huffman Prairie was the first military aircraft. A reproduction of the 1909 Flyer is on display in the nearby Air Force Museum. The original is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 3, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 6, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,266 times since then and 45 times this year. Last updated on May 2, 2021, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. Photos:   1. submitted on January 6, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2. submitted on April 23, 2021, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California.   3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on January 6, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   7. submitted on April 28, 2021, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California.   8, 9. submitted on January 6, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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May. 6, 2021