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The FarceHaven Tribune
Washington DC: A rare series of letters written in 1900 by Wilbur and Orville Wright to the Interior Department Secretary Mr. Cyrus LaHood (Great Great Grandfather of Ray LaHood, USDOT Secretary) have been discovered stuffed in an old file cabinet.
The Wright brothers initially wrote the Interior Department Secretary requesting a three year government loan of $10,000 to help finance their experiments with heavier than air flying machines. The brothers were overdrawn at the bank, had mortgaged their houses and bicycles were not selling at their shop because of the recession of 1899-1900.
The Interior Department Secretary wrote back to the Wright brothers that government money was available provided the flying machine achieved a speed of 100 mph, a 1000 mile range, and an altitude of 1000 feet. Seven airbags and seat belts were required for safety purposes as well as the use of green technology. A competitive bidding process was also stipulated.
The Wright brothers responded to the Interior Department Secretary that if their flying machine could achieve a speed of 30 mph, a 1000 feet range, and an altitude of 30 feet they would be extremely pleased. Additionally, Orville and Wilbur stated that the latest design soft leather helmets and goggles were available for pilot safety and that the fabric covering of the aircraft could be dyed green.
By this time the Wright brothers, who had different personalities, both sensed that they were wasting their time asking the federal government for any help. This frustration was manifested in the last paragraph of their response letter, which had turned yellow with the ink being very faded. A resident documentarian at the National Archives was able to reconstruct a portion of this text which reads "and the horse you rode in on!"
The Wright Flyer was the first heavier than air powered aircraft designed and built by the Wright brothers. They flew it four times on December 17, 1903 near the Kill Devil Hills, about four miles south of Kitty Hawk NC, taking turns at the controls.