Ed Korn  
Shelby County's Korn Brothers pioneered in aviation
by Clarence B. Raterman
from The Sidney Daily News, July 1, 1976
Springfield, Ohio
Courtesy of Steve Koons, 12-14-2004
MONTRA -- On Dec. 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk, N.C., Wilbur and Orville Wright made their successful flight in a full-sized airplane. The machine was a biplane, and on the first day the Wright brothers made four flights, the longest lasting 59 seconds at a speed of 30 miles per hour. Inspired by the feats of the Wright Brothers, a Shelby Countian, living one mile south and one half mile east of Montra, by the name of Milton Korn, decided to try his hand at the new adventure. In 1908 he built a flying model aeroplane powered by rubber bands that flew successfully. When his brother, Edward, came home from college and saw his brother's plane, the two decided to build a full-sized plane using the model as a guide. Ed had some training in blue printing, and drew up the plans. Small steam engines were molded with babbit metal and each little engine that was made would run when a steam hose was attached to it. Thus began the flying career of the Korn brothers covering a period of five years, and ending with the tragic death of Milton Korn in August, 1913.
     To read the rest of this fascinating story, click on:
Korn Brothers

  Ed Korn  
Collection of Clement Shanely Partington,
Image manipulated by Steve Koons, 1-9-04

     I just recently identified this plane as the Benoist flown by Edward Korn. It was in one of my grandfather's photo albums (he was a part-time professional photographer). I can tell he printed it himself, but not sure if he was actually the photographer. He lived in Shelby Co, Ohio, so I'm fairly certain the picture was taken there (which is where the Korn airfield was). I'm not familiar enough with the original Benoist configuration compared to the modifications that were made to the plane later, so I haven't been able to date it from that, but since there's someone in the cockpit, I'm guessing that this is before the plane crashed and killed Milton Korn? I strongly suspect the guy in the suit next to the propeller is one of the Korn's, but not positive. Some similarity between him and the guy shown in other photos of the plane I think.....
     Unless grandpa printed this from someone else's negative, it's probably not been seen since he died in 1956..... (Wright State University has 102 Korn photos I'm told.... haven't had an opportunity to see if they have this one or anything similar).
Remarks via email from Steve Koons

  Ed Korn  
  Smithsonian Institution  
Eddy Korn and his Benoist

by Bernard J. Losh.
Hard by the little farming community of Montra, near Jackson Center, O., is what is claimed to be the oldest airport in Ohio. It is also probably the cleanest.
     The 50th anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight will be on Dec. 17, 1953.
     In 1908, five years after the first Wright flight, Milton and Edward Korn let go their grip on the plow handles, so to speak, and let themselves be bitten good by the airplane bug. Not that the brothers Korn quit farming. There was a certain amount of it to do and they did it. But they found time, too, for their developing concern with the flying machine. They also found ways and means to cut down the size of the family farm and establish the first airport in Ohio. In one stage of activity or another it has been in continuous operation since that time.
     That same year Milt and Ed Korn started building flying machines. Altogether they put four of them together. The first two never got off the ground. The third one, which was powered with a marine motor, made successful flights in 1911. It took off and landed at the Korn airport.
     The fourth plane, called a Benoist, was put together in 1911-1912, out of parts from a number of different airplanes. It was used, in 1912, to carry the first air mail in the state of Illinois and was only recently given to the Smithsonian Institution at Washington for permanent display.
     In 1913, in the only crash at the Korn airport, Milton Korn was killed and his brother Ed was injured.
     While all this was going on, a younger brother, Arlington Korn, was continually exposed to aviation. By the time he was 12 years old he knew his way around the airways, not as a pilot but he was precociously wise and knowing as a passenger.
     From 1913 until 1946 activities at the Korn airport sort of simmered down, at least as far as its public operations and public services went but Arlington Korn continued to fly, using the field as his base of operations.
This comes from an article in CAMERICA, 1953,


  Korn Brothers  
  Smithsonian Institution  
Benoist airplane, built by Korn brothers, is now in the Smithsonian.

A fine story of the Korn Brothers
and a picture and specifications of their Benoit
is found on the website of the National Air and Space Museum
of the Smithsonian Institution.
You can visit that reference by clicking on:
Eddy Korn
Plan to spend some time on this wonderful site.

Edward Korn
     This envelope which originated from THE NEW YORK AVIATION ????, under auspices of AVIATOR'S POST 743, AMERICAN LEGION and is signed by EB Edward A. Korn, is postmarked GRAND CENT. STA. N.Y. , FEB 14, 1930
It has been donated through the courtesy of Stéphane Sebile.

Edward A. Korn died in 1980
From The Early Birds of Aviation
Roster of Members, 1996

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