OUTDO DARIUS GREEN
CHICAGO MEN WHO REALLY FLY
Flying Machine Season Sets In With Great
Virulence and Astonishing Results
Among the Sand Dunes South of the City
This is the time of the year when the wind generally blows from the north over the
sand hills at the foot of Lake Michigan, and its average velocity is about fifteen
miles an hour. Given these conditions, and not forgetting the sand hills as soft
places to light upon, this vicinity is an inviting one to certain scientifically
inclined persons who are who are seeking to conquer the air as a route for travel.
In other words, this is the season for the air ship to begin flying, and it has
been taken advantage of with astonishing results during the last four days.
A.M.Herring, a mechanical engineer who was for a considerable time
associated with Professor Langley of the Smithsonian Institution in his experiments
with a flying machine and Harry Clark of Philadelphia are the daring individuals
who have seized the opportunity for breaking their necks in emulation of the famous
Darius Green, but thus far they are fortunate enough to escape without so much as
a scratch. More than that, they have surpassed all previous records in the performance
of the machine they are operating, and believe they are on the eve of a revolution
in the methods of transportation.
Herring's New Aeroplane.
Since last Wednesday Herring and Clark have been living in a tent hidden among the
sand dunes two miles north of the little railroad station of Dune Park, Ind. It
is the same location chosen last year by Octave Chanute, the eminent civil engineer
for a series of experiments with the aeroplane of his devising and a more elaborate
and pretentious machine invented by William Paul. Herring was a member of the Chanute
party for several weeks, and suggested numerous improvements in the birdlike contrivances
during the experiments.
When the season advanced too far for a continuance of the flights, Herring had stored
away a stock of ideas on flying machines. He thought he had the problem solved before
winter arrived, and went in search of a backer who would assist him in the construction
of his machine. He continued his search through the winter and into the spring,
and finally found a gentlemen with money to throw at the birds, so to speak, and
Herring was made happy once more. He had his flying machine ready in less than a
month, and then waited for the wind to begin blowing from the right direction at
New Record of 200 Yards.
With this machine - an aeroplane of the class with which Otto Lilienthal, the unfortunate
German avator, made such wonderful advances in aerial navigation - Herring and Clark
have exceeded in the length of the flights all previous performances of the same
character. On the first attempt to use the machine Herring was surprised to find
that he had glided through the air almost 200 feet, a distance exceeding by fully
fifty feet his expectations. His experience last year at the same point had led
him to calculate on flying no further than the distance measured than. Yesterday
he traveled through the air almost 200 yards, and narrowly escaped taking a bath
in Lake Michigan at the same time.
Two hundred yards breaks all the records for aeroplanes, and the two
aviators are duly swelled with pride over the achievement. Last year, with a machine
built on the same lines as the one Herring used yesterday, William Avery, one of
the Chanute party, traveled through the air not quite half the distance and set
the mark for the season. During the two or three weeks that Mr. Chanute remained
in camp at the place flights were made every day when the wind blew from the right
direction, but none passed over the landing place of Avery.
Otto Lilienthal, the German engineer who drew the attention of the scientific world
to this method of aerial navigation a few years ago, never succeeded in equaling
the performances of last year. He killed himself accidentally Aug. 30 [sic - ed. actually August 10], 1896, while experimenting with one
of his machines. Mr. Chanute constructed one of the Lilienthal machines for experimental
purposes last year, and the best that could be done with it was a flight of 106
feet. It was so obviously unsafe that Mr. Chanute abandoned it altogether and turned
his attention to constructing machines of his own design.
The Herring machine closely resembles the one with which Mr. Chanute
secured the best results last year. Its description is difficult without the aid
of an illustration. Herring calls it a "double-decker" aeroplane. Its framework
resembles one of those old-fashioned "whatnots" more nearly than anything else,
with the difference that it is constructed of the lightest spruce pine, and has
but two shelves or decks. These decks are oblong planes of varnished silk, stretched
very taut, and presenting an area of about 140 square feet. Extending from the rear
of the machine is a rudder, very much the shape of a bird's tail expanded, which
is controlled to a certain extent by cords within reach of the avators hands.
Flies against the wind
To operate the machine Herring climbs to the top of one of the numerous
sand dunes that skirt the shore of the lake and lifts the machine above his head.
Then he faces the wind squarely, and starts to run down the steep declivity at full
speed. The wind striking beneath the superposed planes lifts the machine upward,
and the next moment Herring is suspended in the air by his arms from two parallel
bars that form the lower braces of the machine. The machine glides through space
in a series of swoops, the length of which are in a great measure dependent upon
the skillful efforts of the operator, and finally settles down upon the sand.
Camp is well hidden
The experiments will continue indefinitely, the expectation being that
numerous improvements will be suggested. The location of the camp in which Herring
and Clark are making their home is such that they feel quite secure from intruders.
The curious person who attempts to find the camp without the aid of a guide will
stand a good chance of spending a few days in the swamps and sand hills that abound
in the vicinity of Dune Park. Fishermen and the few hunters that wander along the
beach pass the camp without discovering its location, so securely is it hidden among
Octave Chanute was an interested visitor to the camp yesterday, and he returned
to the city last night highly pleased with the success of the machine. It is possible
that he will renew the experiments that were discontinued last year on the account
of the unfavorable weather. At that time he was financially interested, as well
as scientifically, in the invention of William Paul, a Russian sailor, who had constructed
a machine in close adherence to the lines suggested by the albatross. A succession
of accidents interfered before the machine could be perfected, and then bad weather