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1/5/2015 - Conn. officials to Ohio legislators: Gustave Whitehead was first in flight, not the Wright Brothers (VIDEO)

“Gustave Whitehead flew two years before the Wright Brothers.” – Bridgeport, Conn. Mayor Bill Finch

Bridgeport, Conn. (January 5, 2014) – In Connecticut, several city and town officials took aim at a resolution in the Ohio General Assembly that falsely claims the Wright Brothers were first in flight, not Gustave Whitehead.

“Gustave Whitehead flew two years before the Wright Brothers,” said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. “It’s been proven by Jane’s All the World Aircraft.’ A poor German immigrant made history in Bridgeport, Fairfield, and Stratford. We want to make sure Ohio legislators know the truth and stick to it.”

In Ohio, legislation was recently introduced (HCR63) to repudiate a claim made by Connecticut’s General Assembly (HR15) that Gustave Whitehead was first in flight.

"The fact that the Ohio legislature fails to recognize history is patently absurd,” said Stratford Mayor John Harkins. “They are turning their backs on science and innovation. Stratford, Fairfield and Bridgeport always have been and will remain the cradle of aviation in the United States.”

An article in the Bridgeport Herald from August 1901 states that Whitehead, a German immigrant and resident of Bridgeport, Conn., piloted his bird-like No. 21 flyer in a flight that kept him airborne for about a half-mile and up to an altitude of about 40 feet.

Two years later, in 1903, it was reported that Wilbur and Orville Wright flew their plane in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

In March 2013, “Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft” – widely known as the bible of flying machines – officially backed Whitehead as the first man to build and fly a powered heavier-than-air aircraft, beating the Wright Brothers into the sky by more than two years.

“We are thrilled that Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft, the authoritative aviation publication, recognizes new evidence that proves Gustave Whitehead was ‘First in Flight,’” said Fairfield First Selectman Mike Tetreau. “Some people still cling to the belief that the Wright Brothers were “First in Flight” just as others believed for centuries that the world was flat. Evidence and time has proven both to be untrue.”

Connecticut’s Governor Dan Malloy signed a resolution in 2013 recognizing Gustave Whitehead as “first in powered flight.”

“Gustave Whitehead was first in flight,” said Bridgeport City Council President Tom McCarthy. “He was first in flight. It’s backed up by leading aviation authorities in the world. The facts are there. We have the pictures. We have the documents.”