Chuckey City, Tenn., June 29, 1901
The mechanical details and connections of the gliding machine which Mr. Huffaker has been building for me are so weak, that I fear they will not stand long enough to test the efficiency of the ideas in its design. These are the following:
1. The use of paper tubes for the framing.
2. Jointing the whole machine so as to fold and unfold rapidly.
3. Fastening the cloth so as to vary its curvature automatically in accordance with the pressure.
If you were not about to experiment I should abandon the machine without testing, but perhaps it will stand long enough to try it as a kite, and to make a few glides from a height of 15 to 20 feet.
If you think you can extract instruction from its failure, I beg to make this proposition:
1. I will send Mr. Huffaker and his machine to your testing grounds at my expense, and pay his share of camp expenses.
2. He will assist you in your experiments, in exchange for you assistance in testing his machine. The latter I expect to be brief.
3. If you think you will want more assistance, I will also offer to Mr. Spratt (the young man in Pennsylvania who is anxious to see experiments) to send him down at my expense to serve under your orders.
Kindly advise me in Chicago of your decision, and the time at which Mr. Huffaker should join you. He was for three years Prof. Langley's assistant, and is a trained experimenter, but lacks mechanical instinct. Mr. Spratt, as I told you, is an amateur. The machine here will be about complete in a week.
Wilbur's response, July 1, 1901