Ed Korn  
  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

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,


     If you search for "Milton Korn", using the Google search engine, (1-8-04), you will find about 59 links, only one of which is really helpful.
  Korn Brothers  
  Smithsonian Institution  
     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 page by clicking on the title above.

       Milton H. Korn died on August 19, 1913, after he and his brother Edward had crashed. He is buried in the Emmanuel Lutheran Cemetery, Jackson Township, Shelby Co, Ohio
Personal communication from Steven Koons, 1-78-04

     You will find a picture of his grave marker and a photo of the cemetery provided by Joan Shoffner. To visit this interesting site, just click on:
Milton Korn

     Be sure to visit the homepage of this site and take advantage of its many features. To access it just click on:
Find A Grave

Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this pioneer aviator,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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