"Meanwhile, the Wright brothers kept secrets about their invention, despite invitations to demonstrate it in Europe. "One of the reasons Americans refused to attend the French events was that their plane, to take off, used a catapult, weighing 700 kg, which came down from a tower and propelled the aircraft to the flight, something totally out of the parameter of Europeans ". Another reason for mystery was the fear that his idea would be stolen. In 1904, the Saint Louis World's Fair offered a prize to anyone who could fly, but they did not show up. In 1905 and 1906, they tried to sell the flying machine project to the US War Ministry and then to the French government, but they refused to do demonstrations and so the deal did not go forward.
The first documented public flight of the Wright brothers took place for the first time, on September 21, 1908, in Anvours (France). But that was two years after Santos Dumont had already achieved the first official aeronautical records, and by the time our pioneer had successfully flown a year ago his advanced Demoiselle, and when aviation showed accelerated progress in various parts of the world.
The evidence of flights that would have been made in 1903 was presented by the Wright brothers extemporaneously. Only in 1908, they showed: an undated photo of the Flyer (no wheels, a few feet high on the launching track); their journal, where they said they had flown n meters for t seconds on the dates x, y, z; and a telegram passed by themselves to the father. At the time, these evidences of the flights of 1903 were considered insubsistentes by the official aviation organs and by the press in general, including the North American, that then divulged the primacy of Santos Dumont.
Twenty years later, the United States resolved to elevate the Wright brothers to primacy, and those formerly worthless evidence came to be cited as historical documents proving pioneer flights. As a result of great institutional and media effort, the previously discredited claims gradually became facts for the American people and for many throughout the world.
However, there is no record of any neighbor of the Wright, or of any of the passers-by on the nearby, busy road, have seen at least one of the hundreds of flights they claimed to have performed from 1903 to 1908. Not a single report proving those flights had been, until 1908, published by the insightful, efficient and already globally active American press. Not even in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and Dayton, Ohio, where they would have carried out the alleged pioneers, astounding, fantastic, and long flights. If there had been credit for such flights, they would have inevitably and immediately earned huge headlines in the US newspapers and around the world."