On August 18, 1903 he flew with his self-made motored gliding airplane, 4 months before the first flight of the Wright Brothers. His first attempts he made with a plane having three lifting surfaces, but switched to two surfaces soon. They were modelled after the Zanonia seed, a seed that was known for its gliding capability. In contrast to the Wright Brother's plane, the wings were flat in profile and not curved.
He had four witnesses for his flight.
The plane was equipped with a single-cylinder 10 horsepower Buchet engine driving a two-bladed pusher propeller and made hops of up to 200 feet (60 meters), flying up to 10 feet (3-4 meters) high. In comparison Orville Wright's first controlled flight four months later was of 36 meters (120 feet) in 12 seconds although Wilbur flew 59 seconds and 852 feet later that same day.
He founded a flying school and a plane factory, but did not have much success.