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1905-12-30, “Wright Air Ship May Be Bought by French Government for Defense”, Dayton Herald, Ohio, US, December 30, 1905, Scrapbook - Library of Congress, US, p. 2.
Wright Air Ship May Be Bought by French Government for Defense
With a heavy pair of field glasses suspended from his shoulder, and his left arm well filled with all of the latest magazines, M. Arnold Fordyce, of 21 Rue Joubert, Paris, France, was seen in the lobby of the Algonquin Hotel by a representative of the Herald this afternoon.
M. Fordyce proved to be a gentleman of refinement and to also possess a high education. He speaks the English language with ease, but the slightest touch of the French dialect is plainly visible.
When asked about his trip to Dayton from his native city, and as to the extent of his progression on the object for which he visited this country, he replied: “I do not know whether yon know it or not, but deals of this nature are always kept a profound secret. I was commissioned to make this trip by four of my friends, who are all officers in the French army, to see what conclusions I could arrive at for the purchase of the flying machine owned by Orval and Wilbur Wright. A flying machine is something that is never seen by the Frenchmen. They are, however, accustomed to seeing air ships. France leads the world in air ship matters. If I purchase this flying machine from the Brothers Wright, and everything proves to be satisfactory, in connection with it, I will take it back to France with me, and will turn it over to the government to be used in the nation’s defense. No, I am not prepared to state what I am willing to pay for the machine. That is one of the secrets. You will undoubtedly find both parties concerned in this matter, silent on that subject. I have not even seen the machine, and what is more I do not know where it is. I am dickering with the owners for its purpose and that is all I do know. What I want, and shall demand that it is fulfilled before I buy, will be that the ship will fly from a certain point, and go 50 kilometers into the air, and return to the point from which it started, and make the trip in an hour. Of course I do not know where the test will be made. It may take place in Dayton, New York, or even in France. It will be satisfactory to me in any of these places. Wherever we decide to have it, it will be out of sight of the public. I came here all alone, and found my way all right, and I think I can find my way back home without much trouble. If I do buy the machine, I will take it back with me, and will have an offer made to the Brothers Wright, through the French government, to come to our country and act as operators of the machine. This deal in which I am now interested is liable to be closed any day.”