"Mes trois grandes courses"
My three long runs.
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  follows. We learn that the first take-off will be at 4 o' clock. What a frantic hour, what an unsporting delay!

I complain like everybody else and become, despite myself, the centre of a group of reporters swarming around an aviator who is talking at last! I hear this explanation for the unjustifiable delay: “The English are of the opinion that if the start were held now, there would be only two aviators able to take-off, Védrines and yourself.”

At 3:45, the machines are brought up to the white line. We follow. A magnificent spectacle! Some thousands and thousands of automobiles are arranged with perfect symmetry between the aerodrome and the far side of the race track. They resemble the rays of a circle whose centre is the aerodrome. The innumerable spectators give the impression of an immense living field from which emerge legions of multicoloured parasols. There is something uniquely extraordinary about the scene, incapable of description.

At 3:50, a little calmed by so much beauty, I see representatives of the press at my side. I remember my hat, and the idea comes to me of using the organs of the press to get it back. I advise the journalists that I wish to talk with them. One of them comes over and asks me if I have a complaint about one of his colleagues: “Not at all, on the contrary, I am seeking your help. My cap has vanished, a woollen cap of no value whatsoever. But it recalls a host of memories for me, whenever I hold it. I promise a substantial reward to whoever brings it back to me.” Nervous and hurried, I spoke in French. M. Ratmanoff, the maker of my propeller, translated my words. The journalists offered their condolences and allowed me to publicise the disappearance of my old cap. I am in my machine - it is 4 o' clock.

I climb rapidly and very steeply (as I was later able to observe thanks to a London cinematographist). I was worried that the eddies over the wood would pull me down into the trees which border the track. My rise is so rapid that my motor slows down considerably. It seems not to be running quite as it should, it seems to me it is performing poorly. The sun scorches down and the wind tires me out. That layer of air which is in contact with the sun-baked surface of the track is superheated [surchauffée].

--- This dangerous state of the atmosphere does not surprise me. I was prepared for the struggle and bring everything under control, despite the treacherous air [la traîtrise de l'air]. To the great astonishment of the spectators, my machine flies on without the least worrying oscillation. After having made a semi-circle round the aerodrome at an altitude of 300 metres, I set out across the very pretty and green London region, looking out for the Thames, Ariadne's thread, to lead me to Hendon. I recognise the hotel at Weybridge, adorned with its charming red brick tower, clothed in ivy. Very quickly, I find the Thames, which is thin and meandering at this point. In the distance, I see it lose itself among large ponds, then widen to bathe the city of London and take on the character of a majestic river. I follow its eastern loops with my eyes, but make sure I do not drift towards them.

All along my course, the country which unfolds is covered with handsome villas, surrounded by attractive gardens and shady parks. I pass over the populous suburbs of Hounslow and Acton, shaken from time to time by air currents; but they are more unexpected than violent. A fairly strong North West wind pushes me to my right, towards London, black and smoky. The largest city in the world is there, under my right wing. Its most exclusive suburbs appear, neatly laid out and sharply illuminated in the bright sunlight. Those furthest from me take shape only vaguely and disappear

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