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A machine that flies

DATE OF EVENT: Thursday, Dec. 17, 1903

DATE PUBLISHED: Friday, Dec. 18, 1903, in The Kansas City Star

NORFOLK, VA., Dec. 18 — A successful trial of a flying machine was made yesterday near Kitty Hawk, N. C., by Wilbur and Orville Wright of Dayton, O. The machine flew three miles in the face of a wind blowing at the registered velocity of twenty-one miles an hour and then gracefully descended to earth at the spot selected by the man in the navigator’s car as a suitable landing place.

During the trial, Wilber Wright occupied the operator’s seat and steered the apparatus. For three years the Wrights have experimented at Kitty Hawk upon their invention. They chose that spot because of its isolation.

Preparatory to its flight the machine was put upon a platform near Kitty Hawk. This platform was built on a high sand hill, and when all was in readiness the fastenings to the machine were released and it started down an incline. The navigator, Wilbur Wright, then started a small gasoline engine which worked the propellers. When the end of the incline was reached the machine gradually arose until it obtained an altitude of sixty feet. In the face of the strong wind blowing it maintained an even speed of eight mile an hour.

The Wrights have used the box kite idea in their invention, and their flying machine is nothing more than an immense kite, with propellers and steering attachment. Its frame is of wood, stretched with canvas, and its dimensions, as accurately as can be secured, are here given: The width of the box is thirty-three feet from tip to tip. Its depth from front to rear is eight feet, and its height about the same. In the center of this frame is constructed the navigator’s car, where the engine below it is used as a ballast. Directly beneath the car and arranged so as to push upward, is the immense propeller used for elevating the machine, and extending horizontally to the rear is the propeller that gives motion forward, which is about the same size as its companion beneath.