THE following pages consist of a series of articles on "Progress in Flying Machines," as distinguished from balloons, which have been published in The Railroad and Engineering Journal (now redesignated as The American Engineer), of New York City.

The first article appeared in October, 1891, and the series comprised 27 issues. It was at first expected to explore the subject in six or eight articles, but investigation disclosed that far more experimenting of instructive value had been done than was at first supposed, and not only have these articles run to greater length than was expected, but they have been thought worthy of issuing in book form.

Naturally enough the public has taken little heed of the progress really made toward the evolution of a complicated problem, hitherto generally considered as impossible of solution. It will probably be surprised to learn how much has been accomplished toward overcoming the various difficulties involved, and how far the elements of a possible future success have accumulated within the last five years.

The writer's object in preparing these articles was threefold:

  1. To satisfy himself whether, with our present mechanical knowledge and appliances, more particularly the light motors recently developed, men might reasonably hope eventually to fly through the air. He now thinks that this question can be answered in the affirmative.
  2. To save the waste of effort on the part of experimenters, involved in trying again devices which have already failed; and to point out, as much as may be, the causes of such failures. To this end an earnest effort was made to gather all the experimental records which were accessible, and to obtain a thorough understanding of them, so as to bring out clearly the reason of the failure. The reader must be the judge as to the measure of success which has attended this effort.
  3. To furnish an account of those recent achievements which render it less chimerical than it was a few years ago to experiment with a flying machine, and to give such an understanding of the principles involved and of the results thus far accomplished, as to enable an investigator to distinguish between an inadequate proposal, sure to fail, and a reasonable design, worthy of consideration, and perhaps (after due investigation and preliminary trial) of experiment upon an adequate scale.

CHICAGO, January, 1894.

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