Letter - by Wilbur Wright, Page 3

This image depicts the third page of Wilbur Wright's 13 May 1900 letter to Octave Chanute.  Wright is sharing his ideas about the problems he and his brother have encountered as they try to unlock the secrets of powered flight.

Hereafter are the transcribed words for this page of the letter (split into paragraphs for easier online reading):

...pull equal to the weight of the operator and apparatus or nearly so. The wind will blow the machine out from the base of the tower and the weight will be sustained partly by the upward pull of the rope and partly by the lift of the wind. The counterbalance will be so arranged that the pull decreases as the line becomes shorter and ceases entirely when its length has been decreased to one hundred feet.

The aim will be to eventually practice in a wind capable of sustaining the operator at a height equal to the top of the tower. The pull of the rope will take the place of a motor in counteracting drift. I see, of course, that the pull of the rope will introduce complications which are not met in free flight, but if the plan will only enable me to remain in the air for practice by the hour instead of by the second, I hope to acquire skill sufficient to overcome both these difficulties and those inherent to flight.

Knowledge and skill in handling the machine are absolute essentials to flight and it is impossible to obtain them without extensive practice. The method employed by Mr. Pilcher of towing with horses in many respects is better than that I propose to employ, but offers no guarantee that the experimenter will escape accident long enough to acquire skill sufficient to prevent accident. In my plan I rely on the rope and counterbalance to at least break the force of a fall....

Media Credits

Image, depicting the third page of Wilbur Wright's letter - described above - to Octave Chanute.  Online, courtesy Mississippi State University. 



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