Dayton, July 17, 1904
Your letter of July 4th is received. It is to be regretted that the prospect of a race at St. Louis is vanishing into thin air, yet it causes us no surprise. When I first studied the rules, I said they were not fair to the competitors. Orville said they were fair because the persons offering a prize had a right to set any conditions they pleased, and if they chose to put the expense on the competitors, while they themselves pocketed the gate receipts in any event, and probably never would have any prize money to pay, the competitors had no right to complain because they were under no obligation to compete unless they wished. I replied that it might be fair, but that the promoters would have trouble getting anyone to enter under such conditions. When the prize is for the best man, competitors will take chances, but when it is a race to make a certain time no one enters unless he feels confident from previous experience that he can make the time required.
We shifted the center of gravity backward as mentioned in a previous letter but the result was not satisfactory. We are now engaged in reconstructing some of the parts and think we will thus stop the tendency to undulation which has marked our flights with power machines. It will probably be two weeks before another trial is made.
Octave Chanute to Wilbur Wright,
July 31, 1904