Umbilical cord

It is important to underline that at this time  the ‘umbilical cord’ is not yet broken, because all flights are made within the boundaries of the airfield. Wilbur does not venture outside airfield,   so that on ‘Hippodrome des Hunaudières’ every 12 seconds a turn is made, which makes it very difficult to make flights of 50 kilometres as stipulated in  the contract.

Fig. 6-11
The Wright 1907 Flyer as a kite
Criticized and ridiculed ever since his arrival in Le Mans, Wilbur Wright
with usual cap and leather jacket becomes the favourite of French
drawing signed Léo Maix, photography and publisher J. Bouveret, Le Mans

During the period between August 21 1908 and January 2 1909 9 flights are made on ‘Hippodrome des Hunaudières’. On December 31 1908 with snow and three degrees of frost Wilbur Wright covered 123 kilometres in 2 hours, 20 minutes and 23 seconds, thus winning the Michelin prize of 20.000 French francs for new records of distance and endurance. The demonstrations are continued on the military artillery ‘Camp d’Auvours’ 6 kilometres in length and 500 to 900 metres in width without trees in Champagné, 11 kilometres to the east of Le Mans. After earlier refusal towards the ‘foreigner’ the site is put at his disposal by the military hierarchy in Paris, thanks to the favourable reports circulating in France about the flights of Wilbur Wright. On ‘Camp d’Auvours’ a total of 120 flights are made and álso the records relating to height and flights with passengers (among whom politician/mathematician Paul Painlevé on October 10 1908) are broken. Finally the airplane is accepted by the military and the governments of the world powers. Present were Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States. It is the answer to the Zeppelin and the looming world war.

Fig. 6-12
Big crowds necessitated a ticket system
Bearers only of a ticket signed by the local military
commander and Hart O. Berg, the Wrights’ business agent, got entrance