WASHINGTON, July 8, 1909 (UP) - The weather is hot in the national capital, and the tariff debate is warm and depressing. But the hottest thing in Washington is the throng of patients who are suffering with aeroplane fever, the latest disease.
Senators who are well known to be as patient and self-contained as a base ball fan with "two out and the bases full" forsake the chamber and trudge out to the unsheltered field at Fort Myer to see the Wrights soar.
As concrete examples take Steve Elkins and Ben Tillman, whose enthusiasm is about as well ordered and well controlled as a fire in a powder factory. They will wait for an hour watching Orville chew a blade of grass, and when the machine leaves its rail wave their hats enthusiastically and shake hands with each other, even if the aeroplane only goes 100 yards.
More hours pass, and still there is tinkering to be done. Just about the time you are thinking about the dinner that is getting cold, they start the pesky old engine. They hoist the weight and Orville climbs into the little two-by-four-inch seat.
It is a wonderful thing, this aeroplane. And because it is wonderful, when it comes down with a bump in a cloud of yellow dust 200 yards from the starting point, you don't care. All you wonder is, "Are they going to try it again?"
If they don't, of course you get on the same car with 3,000 other people and go home, where you stay until the next day. Then you return to Fort Myer to wait and watch Wilbur and Orville again.
The next flight will probably take place Saturday - if the wind is favorable, if the engine behaves properly, and if there is nothing else to prevent.