Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Aeroplane's Limitations
as Seen by an Expert
[Orville Wright]
      In the opinion of one of the most celebrated air-sailors of the present day, the aeroplane, which he regards as the most practicable vehicle used for flights through the air,will never do much of a passenger business. And if this is true of the aeroplane as a common carrier, how much more true must it be when taken in connection with these military "invasions" about which so much has been written? Anyhow, this is what Orville Wright said just before he sailed for Europe this week to join his brother, Wilbur: 
     "I believe our machine is he best means of navigating the air. The aeroplane will fly faster, is cheaper to run and easier to handle than any other machine. The airship will have its uses, but will never be as practicable as the aeroplane.

[Soldiers at Fort Myer pull the 1909 Wright Military Flyer out of its temporary hangar.
Taken from Wright Brothers Aeroplane Compay website: ]

     "I do not think that air machines will ever take the place of trains and boats as passenger carriers. Our present machines, of course, are not built to carry more than four or five persons, but when the demand comes we will build machines that will carry a great many more. I would not begin to predict what the passenger limit of the aeroplane will be, but I believe it will eventually be used in special passenger service, to transport a small number of passengers from point to point."
     The English—even more so than the French—have been expressing alarm over the prospect of an aerial invasion by "the enemy." According to one estimate that has served to excite the London fire-eaters, an invading army of 100,000 men could be borne across the channel during the night. It sounds terribly practical to the layman, in view of the successes made by the Wrights; but Orville Wright now wakes the dreamers up rather rudely. Practicable as the aeroplane is, its use is apparently very limited. And this authoritative view is matched by the opinion offered by a foreign scientist, who shows that even if it were possible for all the aeroplanes that would be required to carry 100,000, an army of invasion, to make a massed attack, which, he argues, it is not, the still greater difficulty would remain of directing the movements of the aeroplanes safely and smoothly.
     These views are not merely conservative; they are eminently sensible.

[Raleigh Times (Raleigh, NC) 13 Jan 1909

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