My three long runs.
Resounding and enthusiastic applause. I make a tour of the ground and hasten to a hotel where they give me the room once taken, it
seems, by Sarah-Bernhardt. The 'maitre de l'hôtel' massages me. I dine in bed and then try to find sleep, without success. At midnight,
the chief mechanic, Petitpierre, informs me that everything is fine. At 2 o' clock, I return to the airfield. The machine is not ready. I lay
down until the dawn, which will, I hope, disperse the fog. At 4 h. 50', I get away into a calm and pure atmosphere.
Bristol - Exeter : 104 kilometres. - A happy stage. I arrive at Exeter at 6 h. 11' 28”, to get away at 7 h. 5'.
Exeter - Salisbury-Plain. - Flat, denuded country, lacking features. Weather very calm.
At the splendid Salisbury military aviation field, I recover my cap, which I lost at Brooklands. An officer returned it to me. Full of joy, I assist in the servicing of the machine. They have already almost refilled the petrol tank. Suspecting that yesterday's petrol was impure, I make them empty it. I note that one of the fuel leads contains a great deal of castor oil! [The lubricant commonly used in rotary engines of the period - ed.] My troubles with the engine yesterday are explained all too easily. We clean out for three quarters of an hour.
Salisbury-Plain - Brighton. - The wind blows in the direction of Brighton. Everything works like a dream. The air is pure. I head for the coast, towards Portsmouth. There, many clouds roll in quite low, which I must fly beneath, at 300 metres. Despite some turbulence, I playfully overtake an express train at 120 kilometres. My descent is made, without trouble, at Brighton at 11 o' clock. A general tiredness invades me; the stewards move on the autograph hunters. I sign only one postcard: a godsend. While I rest on a camp bed, various fears torment me. I dread an accident on this last stage of 64 kilometres between Brighton and Brooklands. On my orders, a number of recovery automobiles are positioned along the route. To reduce my tiredness, a Brighton doctor gives me an excellent massage; he certainly wants an autograph. Reinvigorated, I start my engine five minutes before leaving, because it had lost all compression [car il a perdu toute compression].
Brighton - Brooklands : 64 kilometres. - I climb away against the wind to 300 metres, having decided to follow the railway from Brighton to Brooklands. The heat decreases, and my energy reawakens. From Guildford, I see in the distance the enormous field which is the finishing point. I dive straight down to the final landing, hardly believing that my great sweep of 1600 kilometres is about to be completed. But the idea of engine trouble continues to bear on my spirit, and so I climb to 600 metres, in order to be able to descend in a glide onto the white line, should a problem arise. This manoeuvre requires me to make a circuit of the field in order to lose height little by little. I land at 2 h. 8', in front of the hangars in the middle of a little gathering of two or three hundred persons. I am the victor.
The contest, ardently fought and uncertain up to Brooklands, absorbed me in feverish activity from Newcastle onwards. I struggled at every instant, often carried away [surexcité] by the serious obstacles and by the irony of things. And now that the combat is finished, that the victory has fallen to me, I am surprised, almost angry not to feel a strong emotion, as recompense for so much effort. I attribute this temporary state to a loss of emotional energy.
Cheerfulness will come soon! Already, hardly out of my machine, I am relieved to no longer be continually concerned with the engine. While my faithful flying machine is