Elaborate experiments in aerial locomotion are in progress at Dune Park, Northern
Indiana, near Lake Michigan, under the direction of Mr. Octave Chanute. The experiments
began two months ago. Since then the machines have been reconstructed. Mr. A. M.
Hering is assisting Mr. Chanute, and has invented a regulator, which is attached to the
apparatus. Beginning September 1, a large number of flights have been made without a
bruise or a break. A distance of 300 feet has been covered, at the height of say
30 feet from the ground, with less jar and shock than a ride in a rubber tired
carraige. Two men carry the apparatus up the sand hill. At a height of 35 feet up
the machine is lifted, and Mr. Hering fits himself under it and allows the wind to
raise it. His arms fall over the bars provided. He makes two or three quick steps toward
the lake, and the machine soars from the ground and darts through the air with a
velocity described as rivaling that of an express train. The motion is horizontal,
without any swaying motion. To stop the machine, the operator moves his body enough
to tilt the apparatus slightly upward in front, when it coasts gradually and
slowly to the ground. The experiments of September 10 were considered unusually
favorable, because [they were] made under somewhat adverse conditions. In a strong
wind the aeroplane soared suddenly and unexpectedly, carrying with it four operators who were
holding the ropes, and lifting them 100 feet into the air. The combined weight of
the four brought it down again soon, without accident; while the performance of
the machine in this emergency was peculiarly gratifying to the inventor. The
apparatus is modeled after the general form of an albatross, but has seven wings.
Originally appeared in Scientific American, 75, October 31, 1896, p. 329.