The wind coasting tests yesterday in the sand dunes on the lake shore near
Dune Park, Ind., gave new results, better in certain respects than have ever been
achieved in America. The results also exceed in some respect the best work of Lilienthal.
Mr. Chanute says the day's work demonstrates that his party has two machines
which are superior to Lilienthal's in ease of control, safety, lightness, and range
of speed. It gives Mr. Herring and Mr. Avery records for air coasting in speed,
time, distance, and horizontal paths, and, what is considered most important of
all, develops no hidden defects in the air machine tested.
This means increased
confidence upon the parts of the operators and gives promise that complete mastery
of the machine is not impossible.
So far as records show today's tests were
made in the strongest wind in which experiments have ever been safely conducted.
The wind had an average velocity of thirty-two miles an hour and the speed obtained
by the machines in the teeth of this wind exceeded at times twenty-five miles an
hour, making the speed through the air equivalent to fifty-seven miles an hour in
The machines and operators alighted gently, showing absolute control
of the apparatus. Even Lilienthal, until 1895, never experimented in winds stronger
than fifteen miles an hour. In that year he advanced his limit to twenty-mile winds,
and thereby lost his life.
The meaning of this advance is held to be greater
than mere figures would indicate, since the irregularities of the wind and difficulties
of the control probably increase with the square of the velocity of the wind.
In the forenoon the test was made with the seven-winged machine, operated with the
Chanute regulator. The best results in more than two dozen flights were 183 feet
in 7 9/10 seconds against a twenty-three-mile wind, made by M. Herring, and 172
feet in 7 8/10 seconds by Mr. Avery.
With the two-winged or double-decked
machine, fitted with the Herring regulator, Mr. Avery coasted 256 feet in 10 2/10
seconds. This flight was made at a descending grade of less than 8º.
Mr. Herring with the same machine, made 234 feet in 8 7/10 seconds, making
the unusual angle of but 7 1/2º.
Both of these
flights made by the operators skimmed along over the ground in courses almost horizontal.
With the high wind the practice was full of excitement for beholders. The
devices showed several capers while still under control which were new to their
Starts were made purposely half way down the sand hills, as the machine would have
sailed into the lake if consigned to the air from on top.
One wholly new freak of the air was experienced by Mr. Herring when his machine
rose with a sudden gust forty feet higher than his starting point, then coming to
a sudden poise, balancing like a bird, swooping at a right angle, traveled a long
journey, and alighted gracefully upon a hillside. It was seen that Mr. Herring's
flight with the wind alone caught and held the machine and then let it descend gradually,
thus showing control under exceedingly severe conditions.
It is expected that with favorable conditions a test of William Paul's flying machine
of the albatross pattern will be made today.
No trial of the Paul device was made yesterday, because the inventor was
unable to be present to superintend the test.