H.King Aeromarine Origins (Putnam)
During 1904 Major B. Baden-Powell, assisted by Mr J. T. C. Moore Brabazon, was making over-water glides at the Crystal Palace. Concerning these experiments he wrote:
'It is ... manifest that before we can build a proper airship we must make a series of trials with some apparatus progressing through the air and carrying an aeronaut to direct its course. Several experimenters have tried gliding machines, which have been designed either to soar down the face of a hill in the teeth of a wind, or to be drawn along by a string. But in addition to other drawbacks, these systems have the serious objection of being very dangerous to the operator. Already two of the principal experimenters in the line have lost their lives through some small deficiency in their apparatus, and if tried over land there is always the danger that any small mishap may result in the machine losing its balance and precipitating its operator to the ground. Such machines, at all events as hitherto designed, cannot well be tried over water for obvious reasons....
'One of the simplest means of giving an initial speed to any body is to cause it to run down an inclined track and to shoot off into the air at the bottom. If means are adopted to prevent the machine from leaving the track before it gets to the bottom, and if it is then projected over a sheet of water, there can be but little chance of a serious accident.
'I therefore decided to erect such a track, and conduct a series of experiments. Existing "water-chutes" at once suggested themselves as ready-made tracks, but, after examining several, and even making experiments with aeroplanes on them, I came to the conclusion that such were not suitable for the purpose....
'By the courtesy of the Management of the Crystal Palace, the magnificent grounds of that institution have been placed at my disposal. ... Here I have had a large staging erected.'
M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing