Octave Chanute first became interested in aviation during a visit to Europe in 1875. When he retired
from his engineering business in 1889, he decided to devote his time to furthering the new science of
aviation. In 1893 at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Octave organized a highly successful International
Conference on Aerial Navigation. Chanute never got the chance to fly because of his age. However he worked
in partnership with younger scientists, including Augustus Herring and William Avery.