As a commercial proposition the manufacture and sale

of motor-equipped aeroplanes is making much more

rapid advance than at first obtained in the similar

handling of the automobile. Great, and even phenomenal,

as was the commercial development of the motor

car, that of the flying machine is even greater. This is

a startling statement, but it is fully warranted by the


It is barely more than a year ago (1909) that attention

was seriously attracted to the motor-equipped aeroplane

as a vehicle possible of manipulation by others

than professional aviators. Up to that time such actual

flights as were made were almost exclusively with the

sole purpose of demonstrating the practicability of the

machine, and the merits of the ideas as to shape, engine

power, etc., of the various producers.

Results of Bleriot's Daring.

It was not until Bleriot flew across the straits of

Dover on July 25th, 1909, that the general public awoke

to a full realization of the fact that it was possible for

others than professional aviators to indulge in aviation.

Bleriot's feat was accepted as proof that at last an

absolutely new means of sport, pleasure and research,

had been practically developed, and was within the

reach of all who had the inclination, nerve and financial

means to adopt it.

From this event may be dated the birth of the modern

flying machine into the world of business. The automobile

was taken up by the general public from the

very start because it was a proposition comparatively

easy of demonstration. There was nothing mysterious

or uncanny in the fact that a wheeled vehicle could be

propelled on solid, substantial roads by means of engine

power. And yet it took (comparatively speaking) a long

time to really popularize the motor car.

Wonderful Results in a Year.

Men of large financial means engaged in the manufacture

of automobiles, and expended fortunes in attracting

public attention to them through the medium of

advertisements, speed and road contests, etc. By these

means a mammoth business has been built up, but bringing

this business to its present proportions required

years of patient industry and indomitable pluck.

At this writing, less than a year from the day when

Bleriot crossed the channel, the actual sales of flying

machines outnumber the actual sales of automobiles in

the first year of their commercial development. This

may appear incredible, but it is a fact as statistics will


In this connection we should take into consideration

the fact that up to a year ago there was no serious intention

of putting flying machines on the market; no

preparations had been made to produce them on a commercial

scale; no money had been expended in advertisements

with a view to selling them.

Some of the Actual Results.

Today flying machines are being produced on a commercial

basis, and there is a big demand for them. The

people making them are overcrowded with orders. Some

of the producers are already making arrangements to

enlarge their plants and advertise their product for sale

the same as is being done with automobiles, while a

number of flying machine motor makers are already

promoting the sale of their wares in this way.

Here are a few actual figures of flying machine sales

made by the more prominent producers since July 25th,


Santos Dumont, 90 machines; Bleriot, 200; Farman,

130; Clemenceau-Wright, 80; Voisin, 100; Antoinette,

100. Many of these orders have been filled by delivery

of the machines, and in others the construction work

is under way.

The foregoing are all of foreign make. In this country

Curtiss and the Wrights are engaged in similar

work, but no actual figures of their output are obtainable.

Larger Plants Are Necessary.

And this situation exists despite the fact that none of

the producers are really equipped with adequate plants

for turning out their machines on a modern, business-

like basis. The demand was so sudden and unexpected

that it found them poorly prepared to meet it. This,

however, is now being remedied by the erection of special

plants, the enlargement of others, and the introduction

of new machinery and other labor-saving conveniences.

Companies, with large capitalization, to engage in the

exclusive production of airships are being organized in

many parts of the world. One notable instance of this

nature is worth quoting as illustrative of the manner

in which the production of flying machines is being

commercialized. This is the formation at Frankfort,

Germany, of the Flugmaschine Wright, G. m. b. H., with

a capital of $119,000, the Krupps, of Essen, being interested.

Prices at Which Machines Sell.

This wonderful demand from the public has come

notwithstanding the fact that the machines, owing to lack

of facilities for wholesale production, are far from being

cheap. Such definite quotations as are made are

on the following basis:

Santos Dumont--List price $1,000, but owing to the

rush of orders agents are readily getting from $1,300 to

$1,500. This is the smallest machine made.

Bleriot--List price $2,500. This is for the cross-

channel type, with Anzani motor.

Antoinette--List price from $4,000 to $5,000, according

to size.

Wright--List price $5,600.

Curtiss--List price $5,000.

There is, however, no stability in prices as purchasers

are almost invariably ready to pay a considerable premium

to facilitate delivery.

The motor is the most expensive part of the flying

machine. Motor prices range from $500 to $2,000, this

latter amount being asked for the Curtiss engine.

Systematic Instruction of Amateurs.

In addition to the production of flying machines many

of the experienced aviators are making a business of

the instruction of amateurs. Curtiss and the Wrights

in this country have a number of pupils, as have also

the prominent foreigners. Schools of instruction are

being opened in various parts of the world, not alone as

private money-making ventures, but in connection with

public educational institutions. One of these latter is

to be found at the University of Barcelona, Spain.

The flying machine agent, the man who handles the

machines on a commission, has also become a known

quantity, and will soon be as numerous as his brother

of the automobile. The sign "John Bird, agent for

Skimmer's Flying Machine," is no longer a curiosity.

Yes, the Airship Is Here.

From all of which we may well infer that the flying

machine in practical form has arrived, and that it is

here to stay. It is no exaggeration to say that the time

is close at hand when people will keep flying machines

just as they now keep automobiles, and that pleasure

jaunts will be fully as numerous and popular. With

the important item of practicability fully demonstrated,

"Come, take a trip in my airship," will have more real

significance than now attaches to the vapid warblings

of the vaudeville vocalist.

As a further evidence that the airship is really here,

and that its presence is recognized in a business way,

the action of life and accident insurance companies is

interesting. Some of them are reconstructing their policies

so as to include a special waiver of insurance by

aviators. Anything which compels these great corporations

to modify their policies cannot be looked upon as

a mere curiosity or toy.

It is some consolation to know that the movement in

this direction is not thus far widespread. Moreover it

is more than probable that the competition for business

will eventually induce the companies to act more

liberally toward aviators, especially as the art of aviation


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