Skip Navigation Links

The Octave Chanute Pages

Reprinted from 
THE CHICAGO DAILY TRIBUNE,
SEPTEMBER 12, 1896

Page 6


AIR SHIPS WORK WELL

___________

CHANUTE'S DEVICES GIVEN TEST 
YESTERDAY AT DUNE PARK

___________
Famous Experiments of Lilienthal Said to 
Have Been Eclipsed in Many Respects -
 Maximum Flight of 183 Feet is Made by the 
Aid of Seven-Winged Apparatus in Less 
than Eight Seconds - Trials of the Paul Machine 
Are Expected Today

___________
 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 a calm.  

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 riders.

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.

Newspaper and Eyewitness Accounts

1896 1897 1898
June 24 - Chicago Tribune
August 2 - Chicago Tribune September 5 - Times-Herald November 11 - Elmira, NY 
Daily Advertiser
September 8 - Chicago Tribune September 8 - Times-Herald
September 11 - Chicago Chronicle September 12 - Times-Herald
September 12 - Chicago Tribune
September 28 - Chicago Record
October 3 - Westchester Tribune