1905 Wright Flyer III Replica Crashes, Pilot Seriously Injured

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Mark Dusenberry, vintage aircraft builder and pilot, was seriously injured Thursday when he crashed a replica of the 1905 Wright Flyer III at Huffman Prairie Flying Field. The airfield is cited by some as the world’s first airport. Dusenberry was practicing for the 104th Anniversary of Practical Flight ceremony planned for the week of Oct. 4. Huffman Prairie Field sits just south of the main runway at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, in Dayton, Ohio. Dusenberry has flown the aircraft successfully at reenactments, but did suffer a minor crash at the same airfield on Oct. 5, 2007. This year, he was just seconds into his second early morning flight when witnesses saw the aircraft begin to oscillate vertically before pitching down from about 20 feet and impacting the ground. Dusenberry was conscious and talking with paramedics as he was airlifted by a CareFlight helicopter from the airfield to a local hospital. The flight ceremony, an event that includes educational outreach programs for local students, has been canceled. (See local news video at right.)

The National Park Service, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the National Aviation Heritage Alliance and others host the anniversary ceremony twice each year. The FAA’s Cincinnati Flight Standards District Office was at the site soon after the crash, “and are investigating the cause,” according to the Air Force Materiel Command.