Octave Chanute to Wilbur Wright

Vienna, March 13, 1903

I wrote to you from Nice, and received in Milan your letter of Feb. 4th, advising me of your experiments on the resistance of various shapes to air currents. It fortunately happened that I had just formed the acquaintance that day of Mr. C. Canovetti, an Italian engineer, who has been experimenting at Milan upon the resistance of various solids, and has won several prizes, as well as received two appropriations of $200 each from the Smithsonian Institution for his researches in aerodynamics, &c.

I gave him your address and he is to mail you two memoirs; one in French and the other in Italian, so that if you are at all rusty in those languages you had better brighten up. Most of the tables, however, consist of coefficients, with the shapes shown in the margin, so that I think you will make out.

I left Venice last evening with the sun shining brightly and reached Vienna this morning in the midst of a furious snowstorm. I am to meet tomorrow Mr. F. von Lossl, an Austrian engineer who has made a great many experiments on air resistances and will probably mail you a copy of his book, so that you may want to brush up your German also.

Today I spent with Win. Kress who experimented with a flying boat last year. You may remember that pictures of it were published at the time, and that it came to grief; turned over and sunk, upon the first trial. It has since been rebuilt, and I went out to see it today. It seems to me to possess some excellent points in construction, and that it may actually fly if a motor lighter than the present one can be obtained. The latter is a Daimler weighing some 30 lbs. per H.P. and a lawsuit is in progress between the builders and the inventor. Some of the facts which you give as the results of your experiments are puzzling to me, and we will go over them together when next I see you. I now expect to sail for home between the 15th & 25th April.

With best regards to your brother and yourself, I remain, [&c.]

Wilbur Wright to Octave Chanute, March 29, 1903