Colin McEnroe Show: Was Connecticut First In Flight?

Did Gustave Whitehead really fly before the Wright Brothers?

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Carl Stidsen.
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Sketch made by sports editor Dick Howell of Whitehead's flying machine.
Photo:Dick Howell, Wikipedia
Colin McEnroe Show: Was Connecticut First In Flight?
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Colin McEnroe Show: Was Connecticut First In Flight?

Contrary to what you've been told, the first flying machine may have flown in Bridgeport.

Gustave Whitehead is a mostly unsung pioneer in American aviation, and there's some evidence supporting the claim that he flew before Wilbur and Orville did.

Whitehead's story stayed buried a long time, and some believers say this was because of anti-Teutonic attitudes at the outbreak of World War I.

We'll check in with the New England Air Museum about Gustave's flight and the storm of controversy his story ignited among aviation historians.

Leave your comments below, e-mail Tweet us @wnprcolin.



Whitehead's aircraft

Col. Elman - I had heard that replicas built and did in fact fly, one here in CT - also under tow - and one in Germany up to a quarter mile. Was that not true?

Whitehead Controversy

I am an aeronautical engineer from MIT as well as an aviation historian for over 55 years.
Whitehead did not fly before the Wright Brothers; in fact, his machine was incapable of flight. I have debated this with Whitehead backers on several occasions; all of them whom I have met were totally ignorant of the laws of physics and aerodynamics. I hope your radio show goes on to more useful and intelligent subjects.
And, no, I am not JUST defending the status quo -- I was personally involved in some of the evaluations in the 1970's.

H Larry Elman, COLONEL, USAF Ret'd
MIT Class of '60, Course XVI-B (XVI-B means my degree from MIT is as both an aeronautical engineer and a space vehicle engineer. The first 3 years of my 35 years of active practice as an engineer were in space; the remaining 32 years were all on aircraft.)

Gustov Whitehead

Great interview about a little known chapter of aviation and CT history. Well done!