The Octave Chanute Pages

Octave Chanute - this Chicago engineer was the 'elder statesman' of aeronautical experiments in 1900. His glider experiments at Miller Beach in 1896 produced the most influential and significant glider of the pre-Wright era.

Octave Chanute Portrait

These pages contain a comprehensive description of Octave Chanute's experiments along the south end of Lake Michigan between 1896 and 1898. The essay "Wings Off the Dunes" provides the story. There are writings and images of the flights in Chanute's own words in his Diary and in an address he gave in October of 1897. There is a general overview of the gliders used in the experiments and special pages on the individual gliders which attracted the attention of the press. There is an extensive reproduction of those newspaper articles. Also on these pages is an extended bibliography on Chanute, maps, a page on replicas that have been build and are on display as well as a page for those who might want to build their own replica glider.

Locomotive to Aeromotive cover

2011 saw the first comprehensive and long needed biography of Octave Chanute. Simine Short's exhaustively researched biography of this 19th century bridge and railroad builder is superb. His contributions to the history of aeornautics has also been long overlooked.

You can read more about her biography here, and/or buy the book.

Learn more about Chanute's life as an engineer and inventor at the University of Chicago's Crerar Library site:

Flights Before the Wrights
[To fly picture - to_fly2.gif] The summer of 1996 marked the centennial of Chanute's experiments in the Indiana Dunes. Folks from all over the country converged on Marquette Park for a celebration and test flights of Chanute glider replicas on  July 27, 1996

The celebration was sponsored by the Chanute-Aquatorium Society, an organization dedicated to restoring the 1920's vintage bathhouse on Miller Beach and creating a museum to Chanute's glider experiments and the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II
[To fly picture - to_fly2.gif]Of special interest:  If you have further interest in the invention of the airplane, Gary Bradshaw is building a very ambitious site devoted to that subject. The site features a gallery of pre-Wright brothers inventors and experimenters, as well as a digital library of Wright photographs from the Library of Congress. "To Fly is Everything.." is the 'front page' of this web site and has a number of Chanute's writings, including Progress in Flying Machines that was published in 1894.
A good deal of the material on these Chanute Pages dovetail with the history of the invention of the airplane. To provide links between the Chanute Pages and "To Fly is Everything..." you may encounter the icon [ To Fly link image tofly.gif] which is a link to relevant material in Gary's pages. 
At 'To Fly is Everything..." is the Chanute-Wright correspondence from 1900 to 1910 which is vital to understanding the relationship between Chanute and the Wright brothers. That correspondence is also a primary source of descriptions of the Wright brothers experiments and eventual success.
Some other Aviation Sites of Interest:

Visit where you can register and download a paper template to build a Chanute Glider!