Of great significance to those pioneers working toward powered flight, Hargrave successfully lifted himself off the ground under a train of four of his box kites at Stanwell Park Beach on 12 November 1894.
Aided by James Swain, the caretaker at his property, the kite line was moored via a spring balance to two sandbags.
Hargrave carried an anemometer and clinometer aloft to measure windspeed and the angle of the kite line.
He rose 16 feet in a wind speed of 21 mph.
This experiment was widely reported and established the box kite as a stable aerial platform.
Hargrave claimed that "The particular steps gained are the demonstration that an extremely simple apparatus can be made, carried about, and flown by one man; and that a safe means of making an ascent with a flying machine, of trying the same without any risk of accident, and descending, is now at the service of any experimenter who wishes to use it."
This was seen by Abbott Lawrence Rotch of the meteorological observatory at Harvard University who constructed a kite from the particulars in Engineering.
A modification was adopted by the weather bureau of the United States and the use of box-kites for meteorological observations became widespread.
The principle was applied to gliders, and in October 1906 Santos Dumont in a box-kite aeroplane made the first officially recorded flight.
As late as 1909 the box-kite aeroplane was the usual type in Europe.