Wright Encircles Statue of Liberty

I include this article on a stretch that it is relevant to the brand promise of First Super Speedway because it concerns Wilbur Wright, who, with his brother Orville, brought their team of aviators and planes to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the big June 1910 aviation meet. This item, published in the September 29, 1909, Indianapolis News had no direct link to the Speedway or racing in general, except to say that the motors powering planes and cars in those days were much the same. It was always of interest to manufacturers how people used engines.
This article reports on what must have been a true marvel to behold when Wilbur Wright circled the Statue of Liberty on September 29. Wright and rival Glenn Curtiss were apparently putting an exhibition of airplane technology on nearby Governors Island. Wright departed from Governors Island, crossing the water to fly around Ellis Island and then over to Bedloe's Island where he made the first flight around the glorious statue in human history. Bedloe's Island was renamed Liberty Island in 1956.
Wright launched his historic trip at 10:18 am from Governors Island's army headquarters. The spectacle he created attracted what is described as "an enormous fleet of excursion craft" (boats) and throngs of people along both the Jersey and Manhattan shores. He did a flyover of Ellis Island where the article reports that immigrants preparing for their inspection by authorities for admission to the country were alarmed to see a machine flying above their heads. 
It is quite conceivable, depending upon where their point of origin was, that many of these people had not even heard of an airplane before, let alone actually see one in action. Interpreters reportedly calmed their fears. After circling the monument, Wright returned to the army airfield.
Apparently, Wright had earlier in the day made an initial flight to simply circle Governors Island. He did get out over the water but quickly returned, covering an estimated six miles in total. He made a rough landing, grazing the sand with one of his wings to whirl the plane around to a bumpy stop sideways on its skids.
The article presents a nice description of how he flew over Buttermilk Channel in the direction of Brooklyn. He disappeared from the view of the spectators at the airfield behind a stand of trees. He came back into sight over Castle Williams. Here's a quote from Wright about his landing.
"That's the worst landing I've made in a long time, and I'm not going to try anything like it again. I thought surely the machine would be smashed to pieces. It is the only machine in the world that would stand such a landing."
The article offers some interesting commentary on how the craft was prepped for flight. There was a "starting rail," some 165 feet long, that guided the plane along the ground until it took flight. The rail was positioned depending on the direction of the wind. The plane was adjusted by cinching down screws to tighten wires that gave structure to the plane, especially its wings. 
It's also interesting to note that the article reports that the greatest altitude attained was about 150 feet at the point of where Wright encircled the statue. Through much of the flight, which required less than seven minutes, he flew considerably lower, in the range of 30 to 50 feet. Wright estimated his top speed at about 50 mph.
Perhaps the Wright Brothers' chief American rival, Glenn Curtiss, was also on hand. Curtiss did not venture out over the water with his plane, sticking to tours of Governors Island.

WrightNews092909.pdf1.18 MB