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Ohio Senate Passes Bill Recognizing Historic Aircraft

Wright Flyer III Named State Aircraft

On Wednesday, 29 March 2023, the Ohio State Senate approved Senate Bill 42, a measure supported by State Senators Steve Huffman (Republican-Tipp City) and Terry Johnson (Republican-McDermott) which contemporaneously establishes the 1905 Wright Flyer III as Ohio’s official state airplane and honors the Wright brothers’ world-changing achievement.

First flown on 23 June 1905 near Dayton, the storied—and by modern standards, highly unconventional—aircraft was designed and built by Orville and Wilbur Wright, and has the distinction of being enshrined in history as the world’s first practical, heavier-than-air, motorized airplane.

Senator Huffman stated: "The Wright brothers significantly contributed to Ohio’s rich history and altered how the world views transportation. While already recognized nationally, the technology they developed here [Ohio] is worthy of statewide recognition."

The Wright Flyer III was the third iteration of the Wright Flyer, and the first of such to maintain sustained, controlled flight. The contraption’s longest flight, which lasted 39 minutes and 24 seconds, occurred on 05 October 1905.

Orville Wright personally made the decision to designate the 1905 Wright Flyer III as the best example of his and his brother’s contributions to aviation.

With Orville's assistance and under his august supervision, the original aircraft was carefully restored in 1947 and is now on display at the Wright Brothers Aviation Center in Dayton’s Carillon Historical Park.

On 21 June 1990, the Wright Flyer III became the first, and to date the only aircraft to be designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark.

As its name suggests, the Wright Flyer III was the third powered aircraft conceived of and built by Orville and Wilbur Wright. Cobbled together during the winter of 1904–05, the machine made its first flight on 23 June 1905. The Flyer III’s trellis airframe was of spruce construction, and the 1 in 20 camber of its dual wings was more efficient than the 1-in-25 design with which the Wrights experimented in 1904. The aircraft’s engine and sundry hardware were scavenged from the scrapped Flyer II, the performance of which the Flyer III exceeded by considerable degrees.

Compared to its forebear, the 1905 flyer was stronger, more durable, and provisioned with a longer “tail” and greatly-enlarged elevator and rudder assemblies—the cumulative effect of which afforded the machine superior directional stability and control. Following its removal from the Flyer II, the engine shared by the two aircraft was bored to a displacement conducive to a staggering output of 35-horsepower. The combination of increased thrust and more aerodynamically efficient main-wings proved potent, and was further enhanced by a revised propeller design that made use of longer, thinner blades featuring a backward sweep described by aviation pioneer Harry B. Combs as having been “ … calculated precisely to avoid the pressures of flight and to keep the blades free from distortion."

FMI: www.nps.gov/daav/index.htm


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