Wright Activities Before and After 1903

Following Wilbur’s success at Les Hunaudiere and Camp d’Auvours near Le Mans, he moved his flying activities to the elite resort town of Pau on January 14, 1909. The weather was warmer and the flying field was much better. His major task was to train three Frenchmen to fly the airplane now that he had satisfied the airplane’s performance requirements for the French syndicate who planned to build Wright airplanes in France. He was not in Pau to set any flying records although he wowed everybody who saw him fly in Pau.

He was provided a level unfenced field almost a mile square known as Pont Long located eight miles south of Pau with a fine view of the Pyrenees Mountains. The virtual absence of trees allowed Wilbur the luxury to fly large circuits of three to four miles and not stray too far from his hangar-shed.

The shed at Pont Long was much better that the two he had at Le Mans. It was large enough that he didn’t have to dissemble the Flyer’s tail frame and front rudder every time it entered or left the shed. His living quarters were much nicer and he had his meals provided by a French chef selected by the mayor. He also had a special telephone line to Pau where Orville and Katharine were staying in a fancy hotel.

Wilbur for the first time wore a good-looking black leather motorcyclist’s jacket for flying in cold weather. It was the first leather aviation jacket.

His three student pilots were balloonist Paul Tissandier, Captain Paul Lucas-Girardville and Count Charles de Lambert. Tissandier would later be the first to fly around the Eiffel Tower.

This is how the New York Herald described his first flight at Pau on February 3, 1909:

“A constant stream of automobiles bound for the flying field was reported everywhere after one o’clock this afternoon,.. as Mr. Wilbur Wright’s preparations came to an end today and it was believed that he would make his first flight.

Early comers, however, saw nothing to indicate that a flight was being prepared, the only change being a derrick for weights in position and a long metal rail over which Mr. Wright was continually walking, testing and examining the joints. A wind from the west began to blow, a strange event in Pau, and clouds began to gather.

Several people had left when, without notice, the doors of the aeroplane shed opened slowly and a weird structure, the Wright aeroplane, came out. Its motor is a new one, made in Paris on Mr. Wright’s design. Mr. Wilbur Wright examined it with loving care, Mr. Orville Wright assisting. Miss Wright was in the crowd, looking hardly at all nervous.

Suddenly the propellers began to whirl round at a great rate. After another careful examination the Wrights announced that the motor was working well. The engine was stopped and the structure was wheeled out in front of the spectators to the starting rail. It took some time to get the machine properly balanced and to hoist the counterweight, which is about three hundred pounds heavier than that used in America.

Again the curious propeller whizzed round, and Mr. Wilbur Wright took his seat, but descended to oil another bearing. It had been thought that Mr. Paul Tissandier would go up with the aviator, but he stayed on the ground directing the men. Dr. Speakman, official timekeeper of the Aero Club took his stand by the derrick, a stopwatch in hand.

Are you ready?

Up to this there had been quite a loud hum of conversation from the people assembled, but now a hush fell on the assembly, a pause almost of dread.

Let’s go!

The weights fell, and with whirling propellers the fairylike machine tore along the rail to the end by the turn of one lever, and at twelve minutes past four it soared into the air, turning and wheeling up and down as graceful as an albatross, showing the perfect command which the aviator had over every movement and every part of the machine. It had an undulating movement of its own.

Activated by these wonderful levers, the aeroplane glided down to the ground, skimmed over it, then went up forty meters, down again, and so on. As it turned and the movement of the wings prevented the sound of the motor from being heard. All thought the machine had stopped, and an “Oh!” was heard from the whole crowd, which was fascinated by the maneuver, but there was no pause, as the aviator, wheeling on a frightfully acute angle, again circled.

And in this way he seemed to describe a couple of circles and something like a figure eight, and for a second or two the machine seemed to rest motorless against the white line of the Pyrenees. The scene was very beautiful.

Then Mr. Wright came to the ground just beside the starting point, having been in the air just under six minutes.

Mr. Wright traveled at an estimated speed of sixty-five kilometers an hour. He received a great ovation on coming down, and at twelve minutes to five again left the ground. This time he attained a far higher elevation, but there was no height balloons and no measures of length, it is difficult to give an accurate estimate.

He went away to the northwest, turned with consummate ease and came over the heads of the crowd, soaring away to the east over the crowd of automobilists, then back again toward the Aero Park and over it at a tremendous elevation, the machine looking like a thing of life.

Then, to show his power, Mr. Wright made several circles with an extremely small radius, the aeroplane heeling over to an angle of forty-five degrees, after which it descended, coming down as gently as any bird. He spent more than five minutes in the air.

The Mayor congratulated Miss Wright gracefully on the marvelous skill of her brother, and the universal expression was one of wonder at the immense reserve of power Mr. Wright possesses. He never seemed to exert himself. It was the most marvelous performance ever seen at Pau.”

New students who were being trained to fly first flew as a passenger. The student first learned to manipulate the horizontal front rudder (elevator) in straight-line flight. Then he was allowed to manipulate the warping and rudder control stick located between the two seats. Wilbur would sit with his hands on his knees ready to react to any mistakes.

Wilbur explained the operation of the lever located between the seats to a journalist:

“You see by moving this lever forward, you warp the right wing downward into a greater angle of incidence and lessen the angle of the opposite wing. That throws a greater resistance on this side, and he pointed to the end of the right wing. It tends to turn the machine, but when I move this lever forward, see, the rear rudder (vertical tail) moves to the left and counters any turning effect. The wings are warped with a fore and aft movement, and with the same hand the top of this lever can be bent to the right or left and the rear rudder turned to steer in a corresponding direction. When desired, by bending over this lever to the right or left, the rudder can be worked independently of the wing warping.”

Student pilots were designed either right-handed or left-handed pilots. The pilots trained by Wilbur (or Orville) sat on the right and learned to manipulate the wing warping rudder lever, located between the two seats, with their left hand. These were called left-handed pilots.

When a left-handed pilot trained another pilot, the student sat in the seat at the left and learned to manipulate the lever with his right hand and was therefore known as a right-handed pilot.

Orville once attempted to fly a Wright machine as a left-handed pilot, that is sitting in the seat at the right and manipulating the wing warping-rudder stick with his left hand. He said, “that was the wildest flight of my life. I never again attempted to pilot using the let-hand controls.”

Wilbur missed his family and convinced Orville and Katharine to visit him in France. They joined Wilbur in Pau after first spending two days in Paris. They almost didn’t make it to Pau because they were involved in a serious train wreck thirty miles outside of Pau. The express train they were on collided with a slow local train. Two passengers were killed and many injured. Fortunately Orville and Katharine both escaped with no injuries.

Many famous people came to watch Wilbur fly at Pau. One of these was King Alfonso XIII of Spain. He was greatly interested in the Flyer and asked all kinds of questions of Wilbur. He didn’t fly, although he greatly wanted to, because his wife and senior advisors told him not to.

Katharine later heard about it and commented that King Alfonso was a “good husband” for keeping his promise to his wife that he would not fly.

That didn’t stop Katharine from flying. Just as night was beginning to fall on February 15, she flew with Wilbur for seven minutes and four seconds. That was the first flight she had ever been on. On March 17 she flew again for 12 minutes 22 seconds. This time it was in front of King Edward VII on one of the two flights that he observed. He vigorously waved his hat and cheered as they flew by the stands. He proclaimed that she was the “ideal American.”

Katharine made a big impression on everyone and some of what they wrote about her was exaggerated. Such as, she helped her brothers financially and solved difficult mathematical problems for them. She exclaimed, “I did no pioneer work in connection with the invention of the airplane.”

Wilbur was also subjected to false statements. He was named co-respondent in a divorce suit filed by a lieutenant in the French Army. It turned out that a newspaper reporter substituted Wilbur’s name for the real person in order to get publicity.

The day before Wilbur made his final flight at Pont-Long, Tissandier and de Lambert each made solo flights of more than 20 minutes each. These flights served to silence the skeptics who claimed that you had to have acrobatic ability to fly the Wright machine.

Wilbur made his last flight at Pont-Long on March 20 and then headed for Rome where he had accepted an offer of $10,000 from the Aeronautical Society of Rome for a Flyer and the training of a pilot to fly it.

He made sixty-four flights during his stay at Pau. Some of his flights were recorded on movie film; the first films ever made of Wilbur flying.

The airfield site at Pont Long is still used today as the airport for Pau.

Wilbur gave the four-year old Flyer he flew at Pau to Lazare Weiller and members of the French syndicate. He had a new machine shipped from Dayton that he forwarded on to his next stop in Rome.

The following article described a day of work in the life of the Wright Brothers as they prepared for their Army test flights as it appeared in the Philadelphia Evening Star in July 1909:

They put their aeroplane together at Fort Myer to the tune of the “Traumerie.” It’s a sad, sweet old tune by Robert Schumann, its name in English means “Dreaming.”

“Charlie (Taylor), where’s the sled hinges?” asks Wilbur in the little shed at Fort Myer.

“There they are,” says Charley, the Wright mechanic.

“Not enough. Ought to have lots of those.” For a minute he looks tired with Charlie. Then he begins to whistle “Traumerie.” And then he becomes gentle again.

He is putting one of those long sled runners on the plane. It is necessary to bore some holes in it. He gets the drill and sits on the floor, with the runner beneath him. It’s an awful hot day. The suit he got in France is of heavy cloth; his funny, foreign shoes squeak with the heat, when he bends.

He drills and whistles the dreaming song.

Orville is on the other side of the workshop, pulling at the lever that twists the planes. At least they’re right. Then he, too, begins to whistle: “Our life is like a busy day.”

Pretty soon Charlie that has been filling a piece at the bench finishes his job. He bends down to examine it carefully, and he takes up the tune:

“When evening comes we look and wonder what our toil has done.” They are all three whistling it.

Then Lieutenant Lahm, the aeronaut of the United States army signal corps, enters the shed. He has a book in which he writes in a very mysterious fashion every now and then.

The Wrights shake hands with him and then go on about their work and their whistling.

Pretty soon Lahm begins to whistle the same air. He stops only when he writes in his mysterious book.

“Charles where’s the center punch?”

“Well, I brought one. It’s somewhere,” says Charles.

“Oh, all right. Here it is. Never mind.” Says Wilbur.

Punch. Punch. Punch. He is marking three holes in the hinge that will fit on the rudder.

Suddenly he stops, goes over to a corner of the shed and gets a small lard pail. He is going for water. There’s a little spring in the rear of the shed. Lots of folks would have had spring water with ice, sent out to them from the city, if they were in the places of the Wright Brothers. But that’s not their way.

Out in the hot sun he goes. Its rays fairly gleam on his bald head. You’d hardly think there in the sunlight, that the laurels of the civilized world are resting on the head of that man with the lard pail – that man who wades through the weeds and whistles as he goes, “The Traumerie.”

“And in our sleeping, dream the sweeter for the vic’tries we have won,” he whistles as he re-enters the shed.

“Oh, good,” exclaims Orville.

He buries his face in the pail. Charlie, wiping his hands on his trousers, comes over and waits until Orville’s face emerges from the lard pail – this face that is known to the whole civilized world.

Its Charlie’s turn.

Orville wheels about to his job and his tune. He’s tinkering with the engine now. Charlie drinks.

Wilbur stands by.

Charlie hands him the pail and goes back to his bench.

And Wilbur’s gleaming dome rises above the shining tin pail, as he pours into his charmed person not less than a pint of water.

Then he gets back to work.

And it isn’t long until they’re all three whistling again. And working. And dreaming, as all the rest of the world is dreaming, of the day when mankind shall be at home in the air.

“Sure that works easy enough?” Wilbur asks Orville. “Better try that lever to see.”

“No it doesn’t,” says Orville, as the planes, in warping fairly squeak.

The rest of the forenoon Orville, who is scheduled to make the flights, works at the warping apparatus.

You see, when a man is going to risk his life in a machine he wants to know how the machine is put together. He’s willing to get his hands pretty horny and dirty in getting things just right.

Noon Arrives.

“For goodness sake, when do we eat?” asks Orville.

Wilbur, who is puttering contemplatively with a hinge, stops whistling and says:

“Well, we might as well go now.”

So off they go across the hot, weedy, clayey testing grounds. No automobiles for them. They wait for the streetcar. It takes them two miles across the Potomac River from Virginia to Georgetown, which is part of Washington. And here, in a little outskirts restaurant they have ham and eggs and buttermilk.

The man who gets to the cashier first pays the bill, and then they hustle back to the shop, where all the afternoon they work the lever, the drill and hammer.

Yes, that machine will be perfect when they make the real fly before Uncle Sam’s scrutinizing eyes.

Orville and Wilbur hadn’t flown since 1905. Now they were returning to Kitty Hawk for practice and renewing their pilot skills.

They had finally secured contacts to sell their airplane. One was with a French syndicate and the other was with the U.S. Army. In 1905 they decided not to fly again unless they secured a contract for their airplane. As luck would have it they secured two contracts requiring demonstration flights at the same time – one at Ft. Myer and the other in France.

They shipped a modified 1905 Flyer to Kitty Hawk on April 4, 1908 and unpacked and assembled the machine at Kitty Hawk on April 27. The modified Flyer had two upright seats and an improvised control system to accommodate the design change.

They flew for the first time on May 6 averaging 41-mph over a distance of 1008 feet.

The Wrights wanted privacy, but the press found out about their return to Kitty Hawk and a number of newspapers had reporters there, including the New York Herald, New York American, London Daily Mail and Colliers Weekly.

Several of the reporters tried to hide their presence so as not to spook the Wrights, but they didn’t fool them.

Here is one of the news accounts of the Wright flights that had a byline of Manteo, May 11 and appeared in the May 12 edition of the Chicago Record-Herald.

“In flying-machine flights at Kill Devil Hill today the Wright brothers of Dayton, Ohio, made long gains over distances heretofore flown. The longest flight today, the distance being computed by the telegraph poles of the United States weather bureau, was two and seven-sixteenth miles, almost a mile in excess of their best record previous to today.

Starting from the foot of Kill Devil Hill at 9:36 o’clock this morning the machine did not again touch ground for three minutes and seven seconds, making the two and seven-sixteenths miles. Its course was directed north, almost parallel with the beach for a mile and three-eighths, then it was turned west, passing around a sand hill for five-sixteenths of a mile, after which it circled southwest back toward the starting point for three-fourths of a mile.

It was then made to light easily on the ground, the average time by the machine on the flights computed at 46.774 miles an hour.

Comment: It’s interesting that the reporters, hiding a distance from the Wright camp, used telephone poles to estimate distance and then calculated speed to a three decimal point accuracy.

At no time was the machine more than twenty feet above the ground, the only rises in its course being taken to avoid sand hills.

Imagine a noisy reaper flying through the air, with a rising and falling motion similar to that of a bird, and a fair picture of the Wright brothers’ flying machine in action is obtained.

Another flight made today was of two and one-sixteenth miles. The machine pursued the same course on this flight as it did before, until it reached the point of last turning in the previous flight. Whether from design or accident, the machine kept straight ahead when it reached the point, and when it had passed it three-eighths of a mile and was approaching a body of water it was made to light easily.

The machine moved slowly in this flight, taking three minutes and fifty seconds to make the distance, or at the rate of 32.281 miles an hour. Another flight of a mile in length and several shorter were also made.

After the machine lights it has to be rolled back to the rail before it can be started again. To do this it is placed on a pair of wheels, and, with its engine in action, it almost forces itself along.

The Wright brothers guard their machine with the utmost care. They will not operate in sight of a stranger, if they know it.

A result of these trips the brothers are confident that their aerial locomotive will carry them as great a distance as 500 miles and easily at a speed of forty miles an hour.

They believe in fact that the only limit to the distance will depend upon the duration of the supply of gasoline in the engine and that they could have gone as high as the clouds today, had they been so disposed.

Comment: I wonder where the 500-mile figure came from?

It was 10:30 o’clock this morning when the brothers were ready for the flight. The weather conditions were favorable, a lively breeze from twenty to twenty-five miles an hour blowing.

First the airship was placed on a single-track railway about 300 feet long and run along the rails for the purpose of getting the engine up to speed, Orville Wright, the operator, and his brother, both lying flat on their faces in order to give less resistance to the wind.

Comment: The Flyer had vertical seats so neither Orville or Wilbur would be lying flat, nor did they fly together at the same time at Kitty Hawk. They did take up their first passenger, Charlie Furnas of Dayton, Ohio.

While this was being done the machine was held by a sort of trap. Rapidly gaining momentum until it had reached a velocity of about twenty-five miles an hour, the car was then released by springing of this trap and the huge aeroplane sprang aloft to the accompaniment of a chorus of cheers from the few spectators.

When about one-quarter of a mile from the starting point the engine was shut off and the vessel sank gently to the ground.” (End of Article)

The Wrights flew a total of 22 flights between May 6 and May 14.

On May 23, the Scientific American reported on the Wright Flights at Kitty Hawk and admitted for the first time that “In view of these semi-public demonstrations, there can be no further doubt of the claims made by the brothers as to their ability to fly.”

Wilbur left Kitty Hawk for France by way of New York on May 17.

Orville left for Dayton by way of Ft. Myer on May 23. At Ft. Myer he inspected the grounds he would be flying from for the U.S. Army trials.

What would it be like to fly the Wright Airplane? The Wright brothers tell us in the August 29, 1909 issue of Scientific American.

“In order to show the general reader the way in which the machine operates, let us fancy ourselves ready for the start. (Katharine and Wilbur fly together in the picture)

The machine is placed upon a single rail track facing the wind, and is securely fastened with a cable. The engine is put in motion, and the propellers in the rear whirr.

You take your seat at the center of the machine beside he operator. He slips the cable, and you shoot forward.

An assistant, who has been holding the machine in balance on the rail, starts forward with you. But before you have gone fifty feet the speed is too great for him, and he lets go.

Before reaching the end of the track the operator moves the front rudder, and the machine lifts the rail like a kite supported by the pressure of the air underneath it. The ground under you is at first a perfect blur, but as you rise the objects become clearer.

At height of one hundred feet you feel hardly any motion at all, except for the wind which strikes your face. If you did take the precaution to fasten your hat before starting, you have probably lost it by this time.

The operator moves a lever; the right wing rises, and the machine swings about to the left. You make a very short turn, yet you do not feel the sensation of being thrown from your seat, so often experienced in automobile and railway travel. You find yourself facing toward the point from which you started.

The objects on the ground now seem to be moving at much higher speed, though you perceive no change in pressure on your face. You know then that you are traveling with the wind.

When you near the starting point, the operator stops the motor while still high in the air. The machine coasts down at an oblique angle to the ground, and after sliding fifty or a hundred feet comes to rest.

Although the machine lands when traveling at a speed of a mile a minute, you feel no shock whatever, and cannot, in fact, tell the exact moment at which it first touched the ground.

The motor close beside you kept up an almost deafening roar during the whole flight, yet in your excitement you did not notice it till it stopped.”

Anybody want a ride?

Just as Wilbur had wowed the French with his flying exploits, Orville did the same thing in Germany. During the summer and fall of 1909, Orville made 19 flights, set world records for altitude and duration of flight, including flight with a passenger, in front of crowds of 200,000 people.

In May of 1909 the Flugmachine Wright Gesellshaft was founded to manufacture Wright Flyers in Germany.

Initially Germany wasn’t interested in inviting the Wrights to demonstrate their airplane. Wilbur thought it was because officials were afraid of the possible consequences of a blunder. It seemed that every official near the emperor was in constant fear of losing his standing.

Another reason was that the Germans were preoccupied with Count Ferdinand Zeppelin and his dirigibles.

There were some German army officers that began to think that flying machines might prove more effective for war than dirigibles. Captain Richard von Kehler was one of these officers. He proposed the formation of a company to manufacture Wright Flyers when the Wrights were in Rome in April. The result was the formation of the “Flugmachine” Wright Company in Germany on May 13, 1909.

Captain Alfred Hildebrandt was another one of the officers who were supporting airplanes. He had witnessed Wilbur fly at Pau and was greatly impressed. He wanted to get Wilbur to Germany to demonstrate what his machine could do.

Hildebrandt, on behalf of the German newspaper, Lokal-Anzeiger, offered the Wrights a substantial fee to fly in Germany. The Wrights accepted. The family decided that Orville would fly in Germany because Wilbur had flown in France. Katharine would accompany Orville on the trip.

Orville and Katharine left Dayton for Europe on August 8, 1909. Katharine took a leave of absence from Steele High School where she was a teacher. It turned out that she never returned to teaching.

They sailed from New York on August 10 aboard the Kronprinzessin Cecilie and arrived in London on August 16 and in Berlin on August 19.

While in Britain, Orville and Katharine, accompanied by Charles S. Rolls, founder of the British Rolls-Royce automobile company, visited Sheppey Island to inspect Wright airplanes under construction under license by the Short Brothers. Earlier in the year a contract had been signed with the Short Brothers to construct a dozen Wright Flyers.

In Berlin the emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm, ordered Count Zeppelin to fly his newest dirigible to Berlin and on Sunday, August 29, the big silver dirigible sailed over the city while all the church bells in the city provided a loud greeting. A crowd of some 100,000 people was at Tegel parade ground to see the ship land.

Also there were Orville and Katharine on the viewing platform with the royal family. Count Zeppelin dipped the nose of the ship in a salute to the emperor. After landing and paying respects to the emperor, Count Zeppelin was introduced to Orville and Katharine. That night, the Orville and his sister dined with the emperor in his castle.

The following week on August 30, Orville showed what an airplane could do that a dirigible could not. He started his program by making preliminary flights of 52 minutes before a gathering of military officials at Tempelhof parade ground near Berlin.

On September 4, Orville made his first public exhibition flights under the sponsorship of Lokal-Anzeiger. He flew for 19 minutes, 2 seconds for a distance of about 20 kilometers. The crowd’s cheers were like those Wilbur received in France.

During the week of September 6-11 Orville flew before crowds as large as 200,000. Crown Prince Wilhelm, Crown Princess Ceclie were among the spectators.

Mrs. Alfred Hildebrandt was a passenger on one of the flights. She flew for 8 minutes, 38 seconds and became the first woman to fly as a passenger of an airplane in Germany.

On September 15, Orville took a few days off and traveled to Frankfurt for a ride in Count Zeppelin’s new dirigible, Zeppelin LZ 6 on a 50-mile trip from Frankfort to Mannheim. Travelling with him were Captain Hildebrandt and three members of the royal family. Hildebrandt acted as an interpreter. Katharine accompanied the group in the dirigible, Parseval

The press of the crowd was so great on arrival in Mannheim that Orville got separated from the rest of the group. He couldn’t remember the name of the hotel where they were to have lunch and without Hildebrandt he couldn’t ask anyone for directions. Fortunately, a member of the reception committee found him and brought him to the hotel.

On September 17, Orville set a new flying record for a flight that lasted 54-minutes, 34-seconds and at a height of 565 feet.

The next day he set another record. According to a Berlin newspaper on September 18: “Orville Wright made a new record at the Tempelof field for sustained aeroplane flight with a passenger. He remained in the air for one hour and 35 minutes carrying Capt. Englehardt. He broke his own record, made July 27, when he stayed up with a passenger for one hour and 12 minutes”.

Captain Paul Englehard was a retired German naval officer who was being trained to be a pilot by Orville. He completed three solo flights on October 13 and earned pilot’s license No. 3 in Germany.

The Empress of Germany, along with Prince Adalbert, Prince August Wilhelm and Princess Viktoria witnessed Orville’s achievement.

That afternoon Orville flew again. This time alone. This time a broken water pump terminated his flight after flying for 1 hour, 45 minutes.

This day’s flights completed Orville’s obligation to fly under the contract with Lokal-Anzeiger.

Orville than moved his operations to Bornstedt drill grounds at Potsdam about 17 miles south of Berlin. His flights there weren’t private but members of the royal family were in attendance most of the time.

Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, 20, was particularly interested in flying. He convinced Orville to take him up. On October 2, the Crown Prince donned an overcoat to protect himself from oil splatters from the engine and was given a fifteen-minute flight. It was the first member of a royal family to ride in an airplane.

He kept urging Orville to fly higher. Orville kept the machine at an altitude of near 60 feet. Under different circumstances he was willing to oblige the Prince, but he was not about to take any chances that would get him in trouble with Prince’s father, the Kaiser.

The Crown Prince, nevertheless was overjoyed with the 15 minute ride and expressed his gratitude by presenting Orville with a fancy jeweled stickpin consisting of a crown set in rubies surrounding the initial “W” in diamonds. The diamond encrusted “W” stood for Wilhelm but the Prince told Orville it could just as well stand for Wright.

Later that day, Orville set an unofficial altitude record by soaring to 1,600 feet during a twenty-minute flight.

On October 15, Orville made his last appearance in Germany by topping off his stay with a spectacular flight of 25-30 minutes before Emperor Wilhelm, the Empress, Princess Viktoria Luise and General von Plessen. The Kaiser had been away on business and had not seen Orville fly as yet.

By the time the Kaiser arrived, it was getting dark. Orville took off and flew to 300-feet, circled, dove, flew out-of sight and returned for a total flight of 30 minutes. Most of the flight was flown after sunset with only the illumination being the moon and stars. Three royal cars lined up and turned on their headlights so Orville could see to land.

The Kaiser was ecstatic about the flight and bombarded Orville with questions. In appreciation, the Emperor presented a signed photograph of himself to Orville.

The next day Orville and Katharine left for Paris and London on their way home to Dayton.

One other thing that Orville did before he left Germany was to visit the home of Otto Lilienthal. Orville and Wilbur thought highly of Lilienthal and gave him credit for helping shape their ideas about designing a flying machine.