A Project for Flying

Robert Hardley
A Project for Flying, by Robert

The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Project for Flying, by Robert
Hardley This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and
with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away
or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net
Title: A Project for Flying In Earnest at Last!
Author: Robert Hardley
Release Date: February 23, 2004 [EBook #11244]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Produced by Distributed Proofreaders

A Project for Flying.
In Earnest at Last!


A Project for Flying.
In Earnest At Last.

The following appeared in one of our public journals of the date
To the Editor of the Tribune.
SIR:--You rightly appreciate the interest with which the popular mind
regards all efforts in the direction of navigating the air.
One man of my acquaintance was deeply interested to know the results
of the California Experiment, because he alone, as he believed, had
questioned Nature and learned from her the great secret of aerial
To-day's Tribune brings us the full account of the machine, its
performance and modus operandi; and without the authority of my
friend, I can pronounce at once that the thing is simply ridiculous. It is
the same old useless effort, with the same impossible agents. But
to-day, within twenty miles of Trinity steeple, lives the man who can
give to the world the secret of navigating the air, in calm or in storm,
with the wind or against it; skimming the earth, or in the highest
currents, just as he wills, with all the ease, and all the swiftness, and all
the exactitude of a bird.
My friend is only waiting for an opportunity to perfect his plan, when
he will make it known.
Yours truly,

New York; June 14th, 1869.
Two years have passed and no progress has been made in aerial
The California Experiment failed. The great Airship "CITY OF NEW
YORK," had previously escaped the same fate, only because more
prudent than her successor she declined a trial. The promising and
ambitious enterprise of Mr. Henson has hardly been spoken of for a
quarter of a century. And notwithstanding the fact that the number of
ascensions in balloons in the United States and Europe must be counted
by thousands, and although the exigencies of recent wars have made
them useful, yet it must be confessed that the art of navigating the air
remains in much the same state in which the brothers Montgolfiers left
it at the close of the last century.
The reason for this want of progress in the art referred to, is not to be
sought in any want of interest in the subject, or of enthusiasm in
prosecuting experiments. Certainly not for want of interest in the
subject because to fly, has been the great desideratum of the race since
Adam. And we find in the literature of every age suggestions for means
of achieving flight through the air, in imitation of birds; or for the
construction of ingenious machines for aerial navigation. And if history
and traditions are to be credited, it would be equally an error to suppose
that our age alone had attempted to put theory into practice in reference
to navigating the air.
Even the fables of the ancients abound with stories about flying: that of
Dedalus and his son Icarius, will occur to every reader. And the
representations of the POETS, and the allusions in HOLY WRIT
equally prove how natural and dear to the mind of man is the idea of
possessing "wings like a dove."
But it is safe enough to assert, that hitherto, all attempts at navigating
the air have been failures.
Floating through the atmosphere in a balloon, at the mercy not only of
every wind but of every breath of air, is in no adequate sense aerial

navigation. And I do not hesitate to say, that balloons are absolutely
incapable of being directed.
All the analogies by which inventors have been encouraged in their
expectations are false, the rudders of ships and the tails of birds are no
exceptions. They will never be able to guide balloons as sailors do
ships, by a rudder, because ships do not float suspended in the water as
balloons float in the air; nor do birds float through the air in any sense.
They are not bouyant--lighter than the element in which they move, but
immensely heavier; besides they do not guide themselves wholly by
their tails. We may depend upon it, if we ever succeed in navigating the
air, it will be by a
Continue reading on your phone by scaning this QR Code

 / 17
Tip: The current page has been bookmarked automatically. If you wish to continue reading later, just open the Dertz Homepage, and click on the 'continue reading' link at the bottom of the page.