Malloy signs law declaring Whitehead first in flight

State Representative Larry Miller (R-122) hailed Gov. Dannel Malloy for signing into law legislation he sponsored this year in the General Assembly, which declares Connecticut inventor, engineer and German immigrant Gustave Whitehead as the first man to fly in a heavier-than-air machine.

The debate about who flew first — the credited Wright Brothers or Whitehead — has raged for over a century. Conventional history has long held that the Wright brothers first flew in an aeroplane of their design at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on Dec. 17, 1903.

Malloy now apparently concurs with evidence and documentation that demonstrates that Whitehead beat the famed Kitty Hawk flight with a powered flight in the Lordship section of what was then Bridgeport — and now Stratford — with his No. 21 Flyer on Aug. 14, 1901, a full two years before the Wrights.

“This debate has been ongoing for a century,” said Rep. Miller. “And the mounting evidence that Whitehead beat the Wrights has become overwhelming. The official historical record has slowly been moving in Whitehead’s favor as reputable authorities begin to one-by-one revise their position in favor of Whitehead when confronted with the facts.”

Miller noted how in March the publication Jane’s All the World Aircraft, considered to be the bible of aviation, is crediting Whitehead with being the first to take flight in their 100th anniversary edition. Among the evidence cited are over one hundred contemporary published accounts and photographs of Whitehead’s flyer being airborne and under control at an altitude of about 40 feet for a distance of about a half mile.

“The Wrights entered into a secret deal with the Smithsonian when they donated their plane to them,” said Miller. “It obligated (the Smithsonian) to uphold and defend the narrative of the Wrights being first in flight in perpetuity. That arrangement has been a major obstacle to having the historical record corrected. It is my hope that this measure continues to promote the awareness of Whitehead’s monumental achievement and impact on human history which took place right here in our home state.”

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  • Douglas

    As a historical publisher, I lean toward the controversial of America’s history: Amelia Earhart Survived, the Discovery of Flight 19, the Taking of Saipan. However, I don’t do the three C’s: Conspiracy, Covert, nor Coverup. I have enough on my plate.

    But controversy, I’m all in: We need to know that the Civil War was fought over money, that the Dutch Colony on Manhattan Island gave us our Constitutional Bill of Rights, and that the first 50,000 slaves in America — were white Irish Catholics. That Amelia Earhart, John C. Fremont, and George Armstrong Custer were pawns in a larger political game, and that America’s Jazz is what actually ended segregation.

    As every historian knows, history is written by the historians, such that Thomas Edison did not invent the first light bulb, nor did Alexander Graham Bell invent the first telephone, and just maybe the Wright Brothers did not invent the first airplane — they all were just the first to make money at it.

    Now I don’t jump into wars like this one — I publish books on America’s history from unpublished first person accounts. I just let the eye witness tell the story.

    Douglas Westfall, publisher

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