William Paul Butusov

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William Paul Butusov

William Paul Butusov



William Paul Butusov's Albatross Soaring-Machine
William Paul Butusov's Albatross Soaring-Machine

U.S. Patent Drawings of The Albatross Soaring-Machine - 1896



William Paul Butusov's Albatross Soaring-Machine

William Paul Butusov's Albatross Soaring-Machine at Dune Park, Indiana - 1896.
William Paul Butusov is standing in the center of the glider.

William Paul Butusov claimed to have flown a gliding machine similar to his 1896 Albatross Soaring-Machine in Kentucky during 1889. Whatever the truth of that assertion, he did construct a large gliding machine in 1896 with a wing area of 266 sq. ft. and a weight of 190 lb., thanks to the financial and material assistance of Octave Chanute. William Paul Butusov (who was often known in press accounts simply as "Mr. Paul" or "William Paul") made at least one unsuccessful attempt to actually fly his optimistically dubbed "Soaring-Machine" in late September of 1896 at Dune Park in Indiana. The machine itself did make at least one gliding flight, with ballast onboard, in mid-September of 1896. A series of misfortunes and bad weather prevented a full test of the machine with an operator onboard. The launching trestle was a substantial piece of construction as well as a source of trouble in launching the Albatross glider, for at least two attempted launches failed due to the failure of the trestle to allow the Albatross to slide down and take off.



William Paul Butusov's Albatross Soaring-Machine on Launching Trestle

William Paul Butusov's Albatross Soaring-Machine at Dune Park, Indiana, On Launching Trestle - 1896.



In addition to the name Albatross, the design of Butusov's Albatross was remniscent of the 1867 Artificial Albatross of Jean Marie Le Bris. Butusov's effort, although unsuccessful in practice, was successful as an attention-getter. The Chicago press relished the scale of Butusov's effort and the bird-like appearance of its design, and coverage of Butusov's Albatross nearly overshadowed the press coverage of Octave Chanute, William Avery and Augustus Herring's flight endeavors, which happened at the same time and location. Either by virtue of enthusiastic overstatement or misunderstanding, one newspaper article wrongly stated that Butusov had, in fact, flown aboard the Albatross.

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