Dayton, August 16, 1905
Your letter of the 9th has been received. I am very much surprised that Dr. Barton should have attempted an ascension in so high a wind. Disaster might naturally be expected.
In the accounts I have seen of the Montgomery catastrophe, there are so many more facts going to prove that the trouble was not due to a broken spar than there are in support of that theory, that I cannot believe the trouble due to that cause. I believe that if another machine were built and the same "deep dive" described in the accounts were attempted the result would be the same. In the account published in the Ill. Aero. Mitt. for August (written before the accident), Mr. Montgomery is quoted as saying that he had been warning the operator to avoid high speed. He seems to have had at least a dim idea that there was danger along that line. I am sure there was.
We had a letter from Dr. Spratt about a month ago but except that he reports himself well and that he has made a discovery of importance we have not yet been able to make head nor tail of it. We will have to give up the puzzle and write to him for the answer, I guess.
The incredulity of Capt. Ferber is very natural under the circumstances but we cannot do much to relieve it, without entering into explanations covering matters we wish to avoid at present. Consequently we can only say that we do not wish to make any statement until we are ready to explain everything. We ourselves had a letter from Capt. Ferber some two months ago which is not yet answered. He wished to buy a machine of us. There are several matters yet to be decided before we make reply.
Owing to daily rains we have had no chance to try the machine yet. It is clear now, but over a large part of the meadow we can get about only by jumping from hummock to hummock, the level ground being under water. It will probably be several days before we can do anything.
Mr. Feight who lives on the corner next door to us died yesterday. He was already living there when we moved into our home beside him more than thirty four years ago.
Octave Chanute to Wilbur Wright, September 6, 1905