Dayton, September 18, 1904
Your letter of September 5th received. Mr. Avery has undertaken a very difficult task in attempting to make glides of 400 ft. under such conditions as must be encountered at St. Louis. If he fails, it will be no discredit to him, while if he succeeds he will be worthy of the highest honor. It is a truly great undertaking, and we wish him success.
We had a copy of the Ferber pamphlet through the kindness of the author and were much interested in it. We were also greatly amused in studying the attitudes of the spectators as shown in the photographs of their glides. Our own pictures are almost lacking in "human interest." Since Capt. Ferber is attached to the aeronautical department of the service, I presume he will have much better opportunity to carry on experiments than before, though he will be handicapped by being compelled to submit to some interference from his superior officers.
Is any progress being made with the aeronautical congress which was to be held at St. Louis next month? We received an announcement that such a congress was to be held, but have seen no notice regarding it in any of the papers.
The starting apparatus which I mentioned in a former letter was finished and tried for the first time on Sept. 7th. Up to the present time we have made eleven starts with it. It seems to operate perfectly and exactly according to calculation so far as we can measure. On Wednesday, Sept. 15th, we made our first attempts to encircle the field but did not quite succeed, though on both trials a distance of half a mile was covered. In the second trial, the machine rose after partly landing and came down slightly crosswise. As the speed was above 35 miles, several of the wires staying the skids were broken and let the latter fold sidewise. The damage was not very serious, and is almost repaired. Considering the fact that we have made fifty starts and landings with this machine, it is yet in remarkably good shape.
Octave Chanute to Wilbur Wright,
September 30, 1904