After waiting for almost one month for a favorable wind to test his "Albatross"
flying machine, William Paul 1
inventor, Saturday afternoon risked his life, his air ship, and his dream of fame
and fortune in an effort to sail among the clouds. It was the old story of Darius
Green, and that he escaped without serious, if not fatal injury, is a miracle. The
machine fell sixty-five feet and was badly wrecked, and that night fame, fortune
and success seemed more elusive than ever. Thus ended the season's experiments at
Dune Park, and Sunday Octave Chanute and his party broke camp, the "Albatross" and
the aeroplane flying machines were packed into boxes for the winter and the camp
outfit brought back to Chicago by boat. Until Saturday morning no wind has blown
from the north for two weeks. As the frame chute at the hilltop from which the "Albatross"
was launched faced due north, nothing but a straight north wind, and that blowing
at the rate of twenty-five miles an hour, met the demands of the inventor for his
experimenters concluded their long wait was to be rewarded. Before the big aircraft
was carried to the top of the hill and put upon the ways, however, a quarter wind
had set in, but it was decided to let the "Albatross" make a trip anyhow.
LIFTED ON THE WAYS
It required eight men to put the machine upon the ways. As the wind was increasing
momentarily, it was found necessary to hold the craft down with ropes. Mr. Paul
climbed into the frame hull, adjusted a rubber lifeboy around his neck, as if expecting
to encounter water. A lifeboat on the beach was manned by Will Avery and a fishing
smack sailed around near shore to give help if the machine fell into the water.
At 3 o'clock the man in the airship shouted "All off". The ropes were cut and the
"bird" slid down to the end of the chute and surprised the spectators by stopping,
as if counting the cost of a swoop. The quartering wind had proved sufficient to
arrest descent by friction of the runners against the off side. Again the craft
was placed at the top of the ways. Ropes were fastened to the bottom and four men
took positions to accelerate the start with a hearty pull. The wind for a moment
seemed not to come from the east and all felt sure that the moment big with consequences
for Inventor William Paul was near at hand. "Once again - let her go!" sang out
ALBATROSS IS OFF
A chop at the anchor rope, a swift scoot down the ways, and the Albatross
was off. It was a plunge into empty space with sixty-nine feet between Mr. Paul
and the level of the sandy beach ahead of him. For an instant it seemed that his
craft was making for the beach. The next instant a gust straight from the east his
the Albatross and its mind seemed quickly altered. The bulk of wood and canvass
lifted perceptibly as the starboard wing caught the wind. The head turned to the
west. Mr. Paul shifted his weight to hold the craft for the water. He was not quick
enough. Already the machine was out of its course and a plaything for the adverse
current. The momentum acquired was increased by the wind striking the craft now
squarely aft. It darted like a hawk after quarry, wheeling still more upon its course
until it ran almost for the hill again. Not more than a hundred feet had been traversed
to the west until the Albatross dropped rapidly, beat into a clump of trees, and
fell. The craft rested on its left side with the left wing shattered, and a number
of ribs smashed, and other damages.
PAUL SAVES HIS NECK
Paul was not thrown to his feet, owing to the side rails, which he clutched with
desperate energy, but he sustained a bad cut over his left eye and several bruises.
As there was no time left to put the machine in shape it was then dismantled and
packed for shipping. In the morning all previous records for coasting were broken
by Mr. Avery upon the Chanute double-decked aeroplane. With the aid of a new device
for steering he made a flight of 489 feet, landing him in the lake, where the water
took him up to his waist. This was the only flight made where the operator reached
the lake. It is said to be more than twice the greatest length scored by Lilienthal,
and is claimed to be 100 feet ahead of the world's record for aeroplane coasting.
Mr. Paul and Dr. H.T. Ricketts also scored some pretty flights with the same machine.
It is the purpose of Mr. Chanute to fit up a flatboat with a chute next summer from
which experiments may be carried on in the lake with the wind from any quarter and
with a less danger to the operator.
(Click Footnote number to return to the text)
Throughout many of the newspaper
accounts of the Chanute party's experiments William Paul Butusov is referred to
as "William Paul" only. No explanation is known, but one might surmise that he was
tired of spelling his name for reporters.