Huffman Prairie is a 84.2 acre of pasture located just outside of the Dayton city limits. This field has special historical significance for being the place where the Wright Brothers continued conducting their experiments with their airplane after their successful trials at Kitty Hawk in 1903. During the 1904-1905 'flying season' they would continue to perfect and learn more about their airplane which would become the first man-powered, heavier-than-air aircraft capable of flight.
Because of the thread of flooding, the site was never fully developed. So when you pay a visit to Huffman Prairie, you will be able to see it more or less in the same landscape the Wright Brothers saw when they were conducting their experiments. Next to the car park is a replica of the trolley station platform where the Wright Brothers would embark and disembark from their home in Dayton almost every day to keep their invention away from prying eyes. The area has flags and boundary markers that indicated the area of the meadow where the Wright Brothers flew their plane in. There is also a replica of the 1905 hangar they used to store their machine in on the grounds, along with the catapult that launched the plane on tracks they laid out. Granted, sometimes you'll hear the sound of firing from the gun range on the other side of the meadow. You need not worry, though. You're in no danger. The air force base isn't too far away either. On my second visit to Huffman Prairie on my last full day in Dayton, I got to hear the sound of the trumpets from far off playing military marches. It was a touching experience when I heard them play the 'Star Spangled Banner'. I absorbed my surroundings and was grateful to have been at Huffman Prairie for that. It added some good old American charm to the beauty of the landscape.
If you're looking for a nice place to reflect or exercise, you have plenty of open space to do so. Do not miss coming to Huffman Prairie when you're visiting Dayton. One of the best parts is it's free!
Huffman Prairie Flying Field covers 84 acres, and is one of four main locations in the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. This field, along with the nearby Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center, are located within Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, but are operated by the National Park Service and open to the public. Huffman Prairie was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1990.
On this site in 1904 and 1905 the Wright Brothers took the designs from their first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and flew hundreds of times and made modifications in an effort to perfect their flying machine. Finally on October 5, 1905, they had a successful flight of 24 miles in 39.5 minutes, longer than all of their previous flight attempts from 1903 and 1904 combined!
Both sites are owned by the US Air Force, but jointly funded between the Air Force and the National Park Service.
After their successful flight at Kittyhawk, the Wright brothers returned to Dayton and began perfecting their aircraft through a series of flight tests at Huffman Prairie.
The Visitor's center is free and includes a small museum.
Everyone knows that the Wright Brothers made their historic first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. But it was at Huffman Prairie Flying Field, right here in Dayton, that they really mastered flight. Here they experimented with new prototypes and aeronautical concepts. They developed the techniques that enabled them to not only fly but to maneuver an airplane.
The Interpretive Center here provides a wealth of information about those early days, now a century ago. See where and how it all took place.