Wilbur Wright to Octave Chanute

Dayton, August 6, 1905

Your letter inclosing illustration of the Archdeacon machine has been received. Mr. Archdeacon will probably find the machine better fitted for flying as a kite than for gliding.

The tragic death of poor Maloney1 seemed the more terrible to me because I knew it was coming and had tried in vain to think of some way to save him. I knew a direct warning would tend to precipitate rather than prevent a catastrophe. The Montgomery pamphlet showed an entire misapprehension of the real facts regarding the distribution of pressures and the travel of the center of pressure with increasing speed, and it seemed to me something awful that poor Maloney should cut loose high in the air and lightly cause the machine to dart and describe circles without knowing that there were critical points beyond which it would be absolutely impossible for him to right the machine.

An almost perfect chance to measure the normal flying speed of the crow gave a result of a little less than twenty miles an hour. A distance of 1600 ft. was covered in 52 seconds, the birds flying with the wind which was about 3 miles an hour.

We have not tried our machine for several weeks but will probably make some flights the coming week.

1 Daniel Maloney, "Montgomery's man," was killed at Santa Clara, California, July 18, 1905, while attempting to glide to earth after being cut loose in mid air from a balloon. For an account of Montgomery's experiments, see n. 9, Chanute to Wilbur Wright, Apr. 4,1905.

Octave Chanute to Wilbur Wright, August 9, 1905