The objects on the ground now seem to be moving at much higher speed, though you perceive no change in the pressure of the wind on your face. You know then that you are traveling with the wind. When you near the starting point, the operator stops the motor while still high in the air. The machine coasts down at an oblique angle to the ground, and after sliding fifty or a hundred feet comes to rest. Although the machine often lands when traveling at a speed of a mile a minute, you feel no shock whatever, and cannot, in fact, tell the exact moment at which it first touched the ground. The motor close beside you kept up an almost deafening roar during the whole flight, yet in your excitement you did not notice it till it stopped.”
Some of the difficulties met with by experimenters in constructing a machine which will have good stability are also described in the same article:
“The balancing of a flyer may seem, at first thought, to be a very simple matter, yet almost every experimenter had found in this the one point which he could not satisfactorily master. Many different methods. were tried. Some experimenters placed the center of gravity far below the wings, in the belief that the weight would naturally seek to remain at the lowest point. It was true, that, like the pendulum, it tended to seek the lowest point; but also, like the pendulum, it tended to oscillate in a manner destructive of all stability. A more satisfactory system, especially for lateral balance, was that of arranging the wings in the shape of a broad V, to form a dihedral angle, with the center low and the wing-tips elevated. In theory this was an automatic system, but in practice it had two serious defects: first, it tended to keep the machine oscillating; and, second, its usefulness was restricted to calm air.”
From the above it will be seen that an aeroplane is largely a matter of compromise and that its form and surface must be determined from the uses to which it is to be put, and from whether it is to fly in winds or in calm air alone. The Wright machine has demonstrated that it can fly in a wind as great as 20 miles an hour, while none of the other aeroplanes have ever flown in a wind of half this velocity. In this one point alone it is far superior to all other aeroplanes; and doubtless, in time, the brothers will perfect it so that it will have automatic equilibrium and thus be capable of use by almost any individual. There are great possibilities, too, in the way of reducing the supporting surfaces and all parts of the machine to their minimum size and weight; for one leading experimenter in this line asserts that a two-man motor-driven aeroplane can be built which, complete, will weigh only about 150 pounds. Such a machine could be readily carried to a suitable starting place by the two men using it, and as a means of transport in inaccessible country it would be unsurpassed.