Wright Brothers Secret Practice - 1910

This image was derived from a photo that originally appeared in the May 15, 1910 Indianapolis Star.
As the heading indicates, the photo reportedly depicts one of the Wright Brothers or one of their pilots as they made practice flights at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the June 1910 aviation show held at the track.
This was America's first aviation show but also the only one ever staged at the track. Note that the sub-head under the photo read, "Just Leaving The Monorail." This is in reference to how they launched those early planes. They actually had a wooden railing affixed to the ground with, I believe, ropes or cables they used to stablize the vessel as it picked up speed and bumped along its skids (they did not have wheels as landing gear yet) before taking off. The use of skids (like sleds) may have been a product of the plane's original venue being the beach of North Carolina's Outer Banks but by 1910 it seems a curiosity that they still relied on them instead of wheels when performing inland. I am speculating here.
Part of the agreement the Wright Brothers struck with Speedway management to appear at the Brickyard was that they would have access to the facility for top-secret practice sessions away from prying eyes. The Wrights were very protective of their work which led to a patent law dispute that had actually threatened the Speedway's air show. A temporary truce was crafted to save the show.
"The cutline associated with the image read: "The Wright Brothers are working many new aviator into the game and are training a staff for the special aviation meeting at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in June. Curzon, in a Farman, is working at the Speedway now. The pictures show the air pilots in some of their maneuvers."

WrightPractice.jpg2.29 MB