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mountain range. Down in the valley a peace and quiet rest that was beyond my understanding. And, oh! how I longed for the wings of a bird that I could go swiftly and gently deep into that valley and across to the opposite mountain peak.
And just at that moment there burst from the clouds a huge ball of fire atop the horizon. Surely there was gold to be found in abundance where the sun set over the sea. As I stood there in contemplation, enraptured, my gaze wandered far down the valley to the ocean and to an entrancing group of tropical islands some twenty miles from the shore. And I wanted to fly there too. And so I decided that some day I would build me a flying machine.
Well, I have done so. I have flown across valleys and over mountains and high up through the clouds full of wondrous gold, and I have experienced quiet and peace - peace that is glorious.
Will you not journey with me?
"I will not!" is the reply I fancy I hear.
(image caption) Beachey's remarkable feat of flying inside Palace of Machinery, Panama-Pacific Exposition Building, San Francisco - The only indoor aeroplane flight ever made.
Oh, very well. I will call you a coward - just that - and forget and forgive you. And I will dare to say you have not nor will you experience life to its fullest until you have taken a trip to the clouds and the skies.
As a matter of fact I know you are simply itching to go. I know this for the reason that in all my experience as a birdman, with all my tricks and daring performances, thousands of times thousands of people have urged me and begged me to take them along. Many times I have done so, on straightaway flights. They have been thrilled with the pleasure, as have I, and enchanted. And have wanted some more.
Danger, no I doubt, attends every flight of an aviator. Its possibility, however, in straightaway flying is remote and seldom encountered, providing the weather conditions are adaptable and the aviator is careful and sober-minded and that the aeroplane so far as equipment is concerned is in perfect adjustment. Moreover, the type and construction of the flying machine must be considered above everything else.
These factors entirely provide for success and for safety. They alone represent cause and effect - profit and loss. They are responsible, as are members of Congress, for lack of advancement in aviation.
Again, I may say, I am convinced there exists no danger in flying an aeroplane of a type such as I now use. It possesses strength that is rugged and power in its engine and all controls that, to my mind, puts the "kibosh" to all danger. In its construction is embodied every element of scientific and mechanical ingenuity that is required in a flying machine. It is possible, no doubt, that improvements in its construction will in time be accomplished, the same as applies to the construction of the automobile, which vehicle of transportation during a ten-year period of evolution has advanced with bewildering strides. And it will continue its advancement into a broader state of perfection if it is possible for engineering science to make it so.
The genius of aviation is acquired gradually, and it should be. In fact there can be no other safe rule. In a figurative sense the wings of a novice should be clipped at the outset. He should be satisfied hopping around for a while. Then let him work along the same lines that govern an apprentice of any sort. Aviators are not born, like poets.
A novice at the game of aviation and a cub in the game of base ball are one and the same breed. Both require health of body and mind. Without it he cannot become expert at the game. Such form can he acquired only through a regular course of training and practice. His moral and physical habits must be free of all intemperance
THE GENIUS OF AVIATION (page) 7
and abuse. The eyes of an aviator must be quick and clear, ditto his brain, and his nerves strong and steady.
With just this sort of determination in mind it is possible for anyone, in time, to accomplish any and all of the so-called "fool-hardy" flights that I have accomplished. I am not taking the chance or running the risk you imagine. I am expert in the game of aviation. It would be fool-hardy, surely, for a novice to undertake such a flight as "the loop." I possess all the physical and mental requirements. I possess the necessary knowledge acquired through experience and study to make the accomplishment of the feat possible. I know my I machines and have become familiar with air currents. That I had become thoroughly acquainted with the air, and with the gravity of space, I was not sure until I "looped the loop."
(image caption)"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" Beachey, one the scientific, studious, careful Beachey, the other the nerve-tingling, spine-chilling, death-daring, sensational Beachey.
Scientists, through the ages, have claimed and proclaimed that to solve the mystery of gravity was beyond the genius of man and always would be. I have disproven the theory. The truth of the matter is the scientists were not sure - they did not know. They claimed also that the world was round and the existence of the poles of the earth. Such theory was not fact, however, until appeared Columbus and Peary and Scott to prove it so.
It is true the science of aviation presents itself even now as a problem that has not been thoroughly solved. We have the winds to consider - to master and harness.
Today, however, we are able to navigate the flying machine through winds the velocity of which, in the early stages of the game, made progress impossible. And some day we will be able to mount and ride any steed of the air, be he ever so tempestuous, for sayeth the prophet Isaiah: "And it will come to pass that to the persevering wîll come all things from the rising of the sun until the setting thereof." Or words to such effect. I am short his dope.
Aviation will progress rapidly in these United States of America the instant members of Congress wake up. There exists today, unfortunately, a desire on the part of would-be aviators to witness the appearance of a bundle of assurance, neatly tied with a bundle of blue baby-ribbon, the same to be presented them personally and privately from the hands of the Secretary of War, who must be armed to the teeth with rapid-fire weapons, before they will accept aviation seriously.
Now is the time, if you are interested in the smallest degree, to sit down and write a letter to the congressman who represents you in Washington, D. C., urging him to engage himself in the study of the question of aviation. Its advancement will be rapid, providing a proper number of aviation schools are established with proper equipment and instruction in the game is given by experienced and expert aviators.
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