Wright circles Statue of Liberty in airship

NEW YORK, Sept. 29, 1909 (UP) - Wilbur Wright circled the statue of liberty in his aeroplane Wednesday. Starting from Governors island, he sailed through the air around Ellis island, where his maneuvers threw many immigrants there almost into hysteria, and continued over to Bedloes island.

There he made a complete circuit of the statue, after which he flew back to Governors island, landing exactly on the spot he started from.


The entire flight consumed but 7 minutes, the aeroplane moving at terrific speed in the gentle breeze.

When he landed Wright said: "I circled the statue at a distance of 75 yards, although I could have gone closer."

Capt. Baldwin's dirigible fell into the Hudson river north of Spuyten Duyvil, putting him out of the race to Albany for a $10,000 prize, a contest which with the Wright flights made the aeronautic events the big feature of Wednesday's Hudson-Fulton fete program.

Tomlinson, his only opponent, was blown out of his course shortly after passing Yonkers. He had followed the Hudson up past West Point and seemed in a fair way to reach Albany before night.

His failure to control his dirigible after passing Yonkers made it seem certain that the race, the first point-to-point airship contest in America, and one of the big features of the celebration, would be a failure.


Wright had been anxious to be the first aviator to pilot a heavier-than-air machine around the figure of Miss Liberty. When he made his initial flight about the bay Wednesday, however, without attempting the feat, it was believed that he had decided to reserve the performance until it could be scheduled as part of a regular program.

Wright's first flight attracted an enormous fleet of excursion craft to the upper bay, while the Jersey and Manhattan shores were crowded.

Under the stimulus of this audience the quiet Ohioan decided to try his second trip, and at 10:18 he arose swiftly into the air from the landing place at Army headquarters. His motor was working like a charm. He turned his machine toward the Staten island shore down in the bay, then described a giant half-circle toward Ellis island.

There were a great many foreigners on the island and the sight of the strange machine in the air caused alarm. Wright kept on over toward Bedloes island and at 10:22 made a complete circle of Liberty Statue. Returning to the testing ground he landed at 10:25. He was given an enthusiastic reception, but was as self-contained as ever when he landed.


Wright, on his first trip, winged his way in a giant circle across the lower portion of the East river, then northward across Governors island, and westward almost to the very shores of Bedloes island.

It was the first real flight of the aeroplane, although a short time before Glenn Curtiss had tried a short tuning-up spin with his smaller machine, and marked the beginning of the exhibitions by the heavier-than-air machine.

Conditions for flying were ideal at Governors island Wednesday. A lazy breeze swept across the waters of the upper bay, without force enough to straighten out the national colors as they dragged from the flagpole in front of the commandant's cottage.

As soon as it was seen that Wright was coming across the bay the whistles of the steam craft in the upper harbor and the ferryboats were tied down and the daring aviator was saluted with a medley of sound.

It was the first real aeroplane flight in New York city.

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