Of course, there is the possibility that the statement was "politically" motivated.
History tends to paint the Wright Bros. as simple bicycle builders, tinkering away on their own, with little contact with the outside world.
In fact, they were in a race against several groups around the world to become the first persons to achieve powered flight.
So it's possible that the statement was made in the vein of "disinformation", with the desire to make their competitors think they'd given up, or that it was too difficult to achieve.
Without knowing the full context of the statement, it's hard to figure out what might have been going on in his mind when he said it.
Awwww.... they can't help that. You should be happy you have the right to fly thanks to them. Geez, they thought that b/c it was so hard for them to build a good "flying machine" it would take ages to make one. You know how when you are frustrated doing something, like surfing the web and it takes forever for a site to load, and you say something like, "this'll take ages,"? well, that's what they were getting at.
The Wright brothers (Wilbur & Orville) during the first flight, which took place on December 17, 1903 at 10:35 a.m. the aircraft "Flyer" traveled one hundred twenty feet in twelve seconds. Piloted by Orville, the younger brother.