It's a mere two hours until departure and neither plane nor pilot are in sight. The master of ceremonies, Ben Lipsner, is extremely nervous. He paces back and forth and exchanges handshakes with several of the dignitaries present.
Finally the plane arrives. It is a Curtiss Jenny with George Boyle at the controls. As it touches down, it is followed closely by a Post Office truck with a 140-pound mail bag to be transferred to the front cockpit. Everyone is ready to go.
Gentlemen, start the engine, please
After a round of handshakes, Boyle hops back into the plane and throws the magneto switch. A mechanic spins the prop. The engine coughs once, then nothing happens. He tries it again and it still won't start. Other mechanics lean into the cockpit and give it a try. Still, the engine just coughs a few times, then silence returns. President Wilson is growing impatient and someone overhears him say that they're losing valuable time.
Ben Lipsner, still nervous in his role of master of ceremonies, can only stand by and watch as his grand event begins to fall apart around him....