Ohio Senate votes to make Wright Flyer III official state airplane

Wright Brothers mastered extended flight with the “first practical flying machine” at Huffman Prairie near Dayton in 1905

The Ohio Senate on Wednesday approved a bill designating the 1905 Wright Flyer III as the official state airplane. Senate Bill 42 was sponsored by state Sens. Terry Johnson and Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City).

“The Wright brothers significantly contributed to Ohio’s rich history and altered how the world views transportation,” Huffman said. “While already recognized nationally, the technology they developed here is worthy of statewide recognition.”

The bill now moves to the Ohio House of Representatives for its consideration.

The Wright Flyer III was the third powered aircraft built by Orville and Wilbur Wright. It made its first flight on June 23, 1905, according to National Park Service documents and the book “What Dreams We Have,” written by Ann Honious.

The airframe was made of spruce and was developed from the brothers’ previous two “Wright Flyer” versions. In September and October 1905, they solved several previous hurdles, and Wilbur Wright made a circling flight of 24.2 miles in 39 minutes, 23 seconds over Huffman Prairie, just northeast of Dayton.

With the record-breaking flights of September and October, the success of the Wright airplane was proven. Honious wrote that the sustained flights and technological advancements of the Wright Flyer III were as important achievements as the famous first flight on December 17, 1903.

The 1905 Wright Flyer III is the only airplane designated a National Historic Landmark. It is considered the first practical flying machine, and what the Wright brothers considered their most important aircraft, according to Carillon Historical Park, where the plane is today.

According to Dayton History, preserving the 1905 Wright Flyer III for Carillon Historical Park was Orville Wright’s last major project before he died in 1948. They refer to it as “the first pilot’s last project.” And while Orville Wright died before Carillon Park was opened in 1950, he had a hand in designing Wright Hall — the building that houses the 1905 Wright Flyer III.

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