Octave Chanute to Wilbur Wright

Chicago, June 25, 1904

I have your letter of 21st, upon my return from St. Louis', where I spent a couple of days with the Exposition officials and Mr. Santos Dumont.

The latter asked for a number of additional concessions and after a good deal of discussion the following were finally agreed on last evening.

1. The distance is to be 6 miles instead of 10 miles.

2. The I shaped course is given up, and the course is to have but two turnings: starting at A, turning at B & C.

3. The time is to be taken in the air upon crossing the line at A, leaving out the time of starting & landing.

4. In consideration of these concessions, Mr. Santos Dumont agrees to make 10 additional flights after completing the 3 record flights upon which he means to stand as entitling him to the 70% of the prize. He is in addition to make an exhibit flight on the 4th of July if the weather permits. Hence he is obligated to make a minimum of 14 flights to entitle him to the full prize.

I presume that the same conditions will apply to all the contestants.

The jury is to consist of the General Commissioner for Brazil, the Gen'l Commissioner for England, & myself.

It is my judgment that, in order to give contestants a chance to perfect their apparatus, the time for formal entries will be extended from time to time clear up to September lst, and that the requirement that a flight of a mile and return shall have been previously made will be strictly insisted on. There have been some 90 applications, of which 5 have paid their entrance fees, but none of them seem to me to stand any show against Santos Dumont, who will meanwhile maintain the interest in the aeronautic competition.

You had better obtain from Mr. Smith an official ruling upon the time of formal entry. He understands the difficulties involved in perfecting an apparatus and a motor which is apt to heat unduly.

Meantime I hope that you will use great caution in your experiments, and will not run into a cow. I shall be glad to know how you are progressing.

[P.S.] Mr. Santos Dumont says that he does not know of any French contestants who are coming over.

Wilbur Wright to Octave Chanute, July 1, 1904