WRIGHT, Orville. Typed letter signed ("Orville Wright") to B. Russell Shaw, Dayton, Ohio, 5 July 1924. 2 full pages, 4to, single-spaced, "Orville Wright" stationery. Fine.
"AFTER AN 'AERIEL DERBY' WRIGHT REPORTS "WE SHOULD BE VERY STRICT...WHERE WORLD'S RECORDS ARE BEING COMPETED FOR"
"On Saturday, June 26th, McCook Field held an "Aerial Derby" in which six machines went for records," in spite off "rain and a very strong wind." Unfortunately, writes Orville, "through an error...in adding up the weights of the bombs carried in Meister's machine there was a shortage of about 140 pounds...Our weights agreed almost exactly with the weights...marked on the bombs before they were placed in the machine...Meister carried a mechanic with him in this flight, who had no part in the control of the machine, but I considered that his weight can not be counted in view of the fact that 'inert' ballast is required. Bomb racks were placed in the machine to carry the bombs. These are said to weigh 154 pounds, but they were not officially weighed...I think to set up a claim for any part built especially for a plane...would be establishing a risky precedent. We should have an official ruling of the F.A.I. as to what constitutes inert load. I myself would not favor allowing any receptacle which is fastened firmly to the machine but to which the load is not securely fastened to be counted as inert load."
Wright goes on to specify what should, in his opinion, constitute inert weight, cautioning "if competition for these records ever becomes acute, advantage will be taken in such matters. I have regretted our inability to turn in Meister's records as he would have taken seven of them, won under most difficult flying conditions. His loss of these records was no fault of his own but was entirely that of others." Another flyer, Army test pilot John A. Macready, "apparently just for the fun if it, dropped his bombs in the field in front of us just before landing. Our officials counted the bombs as they dropped...but one of the bombs made of green concrete went to pieces and was distributed over an acre or two of ground. We found about 275 pounds of this bomb...While in this case there was no disposition to play any tricks on the officials, such a thing could easily happen if a precedent of this kind were created. Two hundred pounds were missing. Again...Macready carried an extra person on his machine and bomb racks. There was no real question in my mind about his having carried the full load, because the bomb which burst was cast in the same mold with one of the bombs which we weighed...
Finally, he advises "we should be very strict in our rulings on matters where World's records are being competed for, and then see that competitors in foreign countries do the same. There are not many dishonest competitors for records, but if things of this kind are allowed to pass, the dishonest ones will soon be holding the records..." He forwards various reports and instrument readings and the names of the contestants.