"Octave Chanute and fellow flying enthusiasts went to wind-swept Miller Beach on Lake Michigan in 1896 to test three new glider designs. The type seen in the sculpture was actually built as a tri-plane. Early flights revealed to Chanute and co-designer Augustus Herring that the three-winged machine had too much lift -- which made it unstable. With the bottom wing removed, it not only outperformed the other designs, but proved to be the most successful glider ever built -- with hundreds of controlled flights of up to 359 feet (107 m), for as long as 14 seconds. Its rigid, truss-supported biplane design became the basis for the Wright brothers' gliders. "