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National Aviation History Month

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National Aviation History Month

East Dockery, Contributor

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North Carolina and Ohio may seem far apart on the map but the one thing that brings them close together is the debate of who was first in flight. Everybody is familiar with the famous Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur Wright, two American aviators who invented and flew the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk North Carolina. Wilbur was an Indiana native and Orville was an Ohio native. These two brothers made it in textbooks, but many people do not talk about the other first flyer, Gustave Whitehead. Gustave Whitehead who claims to have conducted the first powered flight on August 14, 1901. The Wright brothers first flight was on December 17, 1903. The controversy of who was to claim the title and fame was simply due to researchers tracking down accurate evidence of Whitehead’s flight in a timely manner.

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One Response to “National Aviation History Month”

  1. Susan Brinchman on November 19th, 2018 12:36 pm

    As a longtime Gustave Whitehead researcher and author of the most reliable book today on the topic, “Gustave Whitehead: First in Flight”, I offer extensive evidence that Whitehead predated the Wrights in powered flight by over 2 years, on multiple occasions, with witness testimonies. Whitehead was widely recognized for these successful powered flights, made in Fairfield County, CT, USA, during the period 1901-1904, and many hundreds viewed some of them. Schools and factories would empty out to watch, for instance, when they heard him flying nearby (from the sound of the engine). Testimonials were later gathered to satisfy subsequent generations, from the mid-1930’s – 1980’s. Due to the controversial contract between the Wright heirs and the Smithsonian, made in 1948 following Orville’s death to obtain the Wright Flyer for $1, the Smithsonian nor any of its affiliates and research facilities cannot recognize anyone but Orville as making the first flight. Not even Wilbur can be credited, even though in his lifetime, he was the brother credited with making the only allegedly successful flight of Dec. 17, 1903. There is much myth and legend surrounding the Wrights’ flights and credit, while the facts of Whitehead’s successful flights keep popping up but are quickly buried by mainline historians. Truth in history can be found in my book, which is but a fraction of the evidence, contained in at least 50 boxes, some of which are found at the library of Congress, the Fairfield Museum, my own archives, and the Gustave Whitehead Museum in Leutershausen, Germany. for more authoritative information on this important historical topic!

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National Aviation History Month