Octave Chanute to Wilbur Wright

Chicago, August 9, 1905

I have yours of 6th inst. I have sent you some clippings showing that the British War Office has been investigating what is to be expected from Barton1 before interviewing you.

The accounts which I have seen of the Maloney tragedy state that the machine broke by catching on the suspending rope when first released.

I have not yet answered Capt. Ferber. What do you suggest as best to say to him about you?

I have a letter from Spratt, who is greatly pleased at the result of some recent experiments, and who says that his form of construction is the solution of the problem of stability. His account of his theory is somewhat perplexing by reason of his misapplication of words and terms.

What do you understand his theory to be and what do you think of it?

1 F. A. Barton, British dirigible enthusiast. His project for a large airship, combining balloon and aeroplane features, was outlined in a talk by him before the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain, March 11, 1902 (printed in the Aeronautical Journal, Apr. 1902). After many vicissitudes, the airship by then known as the Barton Rawson airship was built and tried from the grounds of the Alexandra Palace, July 22, 1905. A stiff breeze was blowing and the ship was carried as far as Romford, in Essex, but a safe landing was made. It was after this that the craft became unbalanced through the inattention of the operators and was wrecked on tearing partly loose from its moorings.

Wilbur Wright to Octave Chanute, August 16, 1905