Home Science Space Could it be? Whitehead flew before Wright brothers.
Portrait of Gustav Whitehead Portrait of Gustav Whitehead en.wikipedia.com

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Australian historian John Brown claims he has found evidence that Gustav Whitehead flew the first sustained, heavier-than-air, powered flight in an airplane two years before Orville and Wilbur Wright.

Gustav Whitehead (1874-1927), a native of Leutershausen, Bavaria, who immigrated to Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S.A., is being touted by Australian historian John Brown as the person who really was the "first in flight".

On August 14, 1901, Whitehead (born Gustav Albin Weisskopf) is purported to have made the first flight, not the Wright brothers, who made their first flight on December 17, 1903. According to the Fox News article (referenced below), Brown bases "his claims on an exhaustive analysis of a century-old image, a picture of that picture that he believes depicts Whitehead in the air over Connecticut."

The airplane Whitehead supposedly flew was called "No. 21" and "The Condor". It contained wooden wheels and canvas wings that appeared similar to the wings of a bat. Brown states that Whitehead's airplane flew about 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) at an airborne altitude of around 50 feet (15 meters).

Of course, we now have much controversy, today, as to who was really the first in flight.

British aviation publication Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft has stated that the Wright brother’s 1903 flight at Kitty Hawk (Kill Devil Hill), North Carolina, was not the first to achieve sustained, heavier-than-air, powered flight. The next edition of the publication, which will be released in 2013, will credit Whitehead as the first person to build an operational heavier-than-air aircraft.

However, the Smithsonian Institution continues to claim that the Wright brothers were the first to achieve this "first-in-flight" event.

Check out the following articles for more on this interesting story on the beginnings of powered air flight:



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William Atkins

William Atkins completed educational degrees in science (bachelor’s in physics and mathematics) from Illinois State University (Normal, United States) and business (master’s in entrepreneurship and bachelor’s in industrial relations) from Western Illinois University