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Roosevelt Rides in a Flying Machine October 12th, 1910

on Oct 12th, 2009
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Thousands in Fear as Roosevelt Rides in a Flying Machine
Men and Women Shudder as Colonel Glides Through the Air Over Heads of Thousands at St. Louis – Experience Enjoyed by the Ex-President
Syracuse Port-Standard October 12th, 1910

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 11. -Colonel Theodore Roosevelt defied death this afternoon in going up in a flying machine while 10,000 people looked on. The ex-President made his initial air trip with Archie Hoxsey, an aviator for the Wright Brothers, and he was up in cloud land for exactly three minutes and twenty seconds, going over the heads of the scared throng. The Colonel rode along in the air flyer with as much unconcern as though he had been used to aeroplanes all his life.

Mr. Roosevelt had been in the jungles of Africa facing lions, had gone down in a submarine, he had trod the wobbly steps going up to the dangerous top of a coal breaker, but never before to-day had he dared the peril of an air flight.

Colonel Cautious at First
When Colonel Roosevelt got to town this morning he was told that St. Louis was anxious to see him try a trip through the sky.

“By George, I never thought of that,” replied the Colonel, “I don’t know that I could do it.”

After thinking it over a while the former President said to the committee that had him in tow that he would look the aeroplane of the Wrights over and if it appeared safe enough he would risk his life. The lion hunter was taken out over dusty roads to Kinioch Park at 4 o’clock in the afternoon and found a tremendous cluster of automobiles besides a huge throng of people jammed on the track just outside the field.

Examines the Machine
When the Colonel got to the park he asked for Hoxsey, and on seeing the aviator asked that he be shown the biplane in which Hoxsey had been flying over the field. The Colonel carefully scrutinized the flyer and then turning to Hoxsey remarked with a smile, “I don’t know, but I’d like taking the trip with you.”

“That’s easy.” replied Hoxsey, grinning amiably. “You don’t need to fear anything Colonel. I’d be tickled to take you with me. You’ll come down without a scratch.”

Colonel Roosevelt told Hoxsey that he had no fear of the aeroplane. “By George I can’t go up with this though,” quoth the ex-President, taking off his broad-brimmed hat. Hoxsey easily supplied a tight-fitting cap. He handed it to the Colonel, remarking that he had better put that on.

“Exactly,” returned the Colonel, as he promptly adjusted the cap. “Safe,” says the Colonel.

It took Hoxsey ten minutes to get the aeroplane’s engines working so that he was ready to go up. Colonel Roosevelt stood talking with the utmost sangfroid to Governor Hadley, who had gone to the aviation field with him. “Do you feel that it’s safe?” asked Governor Hadley. “Perfectly safe,” replied Colonel Roosevelt, assuringly. “That man Hoxsey looks as though he knows his business. I’ll not be afraid with him.”

When Hoxsey was ready he motioned to Colonel Roosevelt and the ex-president, pushing the cap down to his ears, strode bravely to the aeroplane. Hoxsey helped the Colonel to the narrow seat in the airship. There was just enough room in it for two. As the ex-president stepped to the machine the crowd in the field let out a wild cheer. The Colonel turned and waved his hand. Governor Hadley moved to the aeroplane and whispered in the ex-president’s ear, “That’s all right Hadley,” replied the Colonel, “I’m all right.”

Start of the Aeroplane
Hoxsey went to the rear of the aeroplane and started the engine. The huge propellers whirled around and then stopped as the engine gave a snort. “Anything wrong?” asked Colonel Roosevelt, looking back.

“The propellers catch sometimes.” returned Hoxsey. “I’ll get ’em going.”

“Good,” rejoined Colonel Roosevelt, shifting back in his seat. Hoxsey gave the propellers more twists until they got working right. Then with the blades kicking up a terrific dust, he ran to the fore of the machine and hopped on. Colonel Roosevelt slid over to make room for him. It was a tight squeeze. Hoxsey held out his arms and then with the cry, “Go!” half a dozen men holding the aeroplane let it go and the air craft skidded along on the grassy field. The aviator let the plane slide over the earth until it had gone half way across the field, and then with a sudden twist at the cords sent it abruptly up into the air.

Roosevelt Looks Down
Out over the heads of the gaping crowd sailed the aeroplane. Colonel Roosevelt could be seen holding tight to the slender uprights running from his frail seat. Hoxsey took the machine over the field and beyond a fringe of trees. The aeroplane was just high enough in the air to graze the trees, and as it went over them Colonel Roosevelt was seen to look down. The aeroplane made an abrupt turn and came back over the field. When over the crowd the ex-President gazed down, and releasing his hold with one hand waved at the throng. A cheer went up and the Colonel responded with a wide sweep of his hand. Hoxsey took the aeroplane over the field scarcely 100 feet above the crowd until he had covered the course, and then with a graceful sweep went back until he was again over the wall of trees. All the time Colonel Roosevelt looked down on the throngs anxiously watching him.

“He’ll be killed,” cried frightened women. “It’s dangerous,” echoed the men. “It’s like Roosevelt,” exclaimed Governor Hadley.

Hoxsey with skillful control of the plane steered the craft back toward the field.

Colonel Roosevelt Describes His Flight With Hoxsey

Colonel Roosevelt Describes His Flight With Hoxsey

Machine Descends Gracefully
“Clear the way, the Colonel’s coming down here,” cried officers as they dashed into the crowd and beat it back from the field. Down came the aeroplane gracefully as a bird until it reached the ground and Hoxsey with a tug at the levers guided it gently over the field. It ran along until it had reached the exact spot from which it ascended and then came to a dead stop. Amid rousing cheers Colonel Roosevelt hopped out from the aeroplane. Newspaper men rushed up to ask him all about it.

“Oh, it was fine, fine,” ejaculated the ex-President with a broad smile.

Perspiration trickled down his face. “Warm up there?” asked a bystander. “No, not a bit,” responded the Colonel, mopping his face. “It was perfectly cool.”

The Colonel told the newspaper men that he had picked out several of them as he rode in the air. “I was watching for you fellows,” he said. “When I got up I began wondering if I could recognize faces. I tried it and found that it was quite an easy thing.”

“It Was Delightful.”
“How did it feel?” the colonel repeated in answer to a question as to his sensations.  “Why it was delightful.  I hardly knew I was going through the air. We went up gently and it seemed as if the air sustained us.  There was no sudden lunge, nothing uncomfortable about it. I don’t know when I have enjoyed myself so much. I wish I could have stayed up longer.”

The ex-President shook hands with Hoxsey, thanked him for the trip, jumped in his automobile and rode from the grounds as Hoxsey and other aviators soared into the air and cut capors.

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