Frank R. Miller
Frank R. Miller
Postcard courtesy of Jerry Blanchard, 11-20-08

Chattanooga Daily Times of Chattanooga,Tennessee
September 22, 1911
Before Thousands of Spectators at Troy, Ohio, he had been forced by their jeers to go aloft. At a height of 200 feet, something went wrong, and the machine in a moment was ablaze.
Troy, Ohio, Sept. 22 - Forced into the air by the jeers of thousands who called him a coward, Frank H. Miller, aged 28, a Toledo aviator took flight at twilight this evening and at the height of 200 feet was burned to death before the eyes of the terrified spectators on the Miami County fair grounds here.
Miller had circled the race track and was just starting on a spiral glide when it was seen that something was wrong. The birdman could be seen to frantically attempt to get his machine under control when suddenly the whirring of the propellers ceased. The craft then dropped like a shot for a distance of fifty feet when a tiny blue flame was seen coming from the engine. An instant later the gasoline tank exploded. A large portion of the craft was torn away by the impact and hurled hundreds of feet in all directions. Meanwhile, the remainder of the machine, with its driver literally roasted, was dropping rapidly to earth. It struck the ground with great violence, Miller's already badly burned body being buried under the motor.
When the body was pulled from under the wreckage, Miller's clothing was burned from his body and his face was almost unrecognizable. The frame work of the machine was aflame when it struck the earth. Rapid work of rescuers saved the body of the aviator from total incineration.
Editor's Note: This article was found in the archives of the Chattanooga Daily Times by Bob Davis. Subsequently some evidence has appeared on the net that the report is in error. The definitive report is to be found on the website of the Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers, sponsored by Troy Historical Society. You can read the entire report which comes from the Miami Union of September 28, 1911 by clickin on:

Frank H. Miller, Pioneer Flyer, Died on September 22, 1911
from Daily Journal and Tribune,
Confirmed in Miami Union article.

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

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