Octave Chanute to Wilbur Wright

Chicago, March 19, 1904

I have yours of 14th inst. Mr. Santos Dumont has visited St. Louis, has had the rules slightly modified, and will enter the race. I figure that with his 60 to 70 H.P., he can obtain a speed of 28 to 32 miles per hour.

I had a letter from Mr. Herring a month ago, stating that if I have any information on the subject of flying machines he would like to get hold of such matter for his paper, Gas Power.1 I am ashamed (almost) to say that I have not answered him.

I believe that you receive the Aerophile. I see by the last number (February) that Mr. Tatin is advising the French aviators not to copy the Americans servilely, but to strike out on new lines. This may lead to further progress, providing that nobody gets hurt.2

I have heard nothing further from Capt. Ferber.

1 One of Herring's many projects, this paper "for those who make, sell, or use gas or gasoline engines" was published briefly at St. Joseph, Mich., but had a New York office from which Herring had written Chanute on Feb. 16, 1904.

2 An account of Tatin's remarks, "Analysis of Aviation Experiments," made at a dinner lecture of the Aero Club of France, Feb. 4, 1904, appeared in L'Aerophile, Feb. 1904, pp. 31 32. The report of the conclusion of Tatin's talk, where the Wrights were alluded to, may be translated as follows: "Mr. Tatin then said a few words about the experiments made last year by the Americans with man carrying, powered machines. The very incomplete and often contradictory information leaves him somewhat doubtful, and he seems to admit the authenticity of the announced results only with the most express reservations; in any case, he said, the problem cannot be considered as completely solved by the fact of someone's having flown for less than one minute and, moreover, under conditions with which we are not very well acquainted.

"In closing, Mr. Tatin came out against the tendency we seem to have in France of copying closely the gliding machines of the Americans who, in fact, have been studying these machines for ten long years without having as yet obtained as good results as Lilienthal ten years ago. . . . 'Shall we someday have to read in history,' cried Mr. Tatin, 'that aviation, born in France, was successful only because of the labors of the Americans, and that only by servilely copying them did the French thereafter obtain any results? . . ."

Wilbur Wright to Octave Chanute, March 29, 1904