Gustave Whitehead...First to Powered Flight?

New historical research challenges whether the Wright brothers were first to powered flight; and therefore, whether Charles E. Taylor was the father of aircraft maintenance.

There is a renewed focus going on right now on whether or not the Wright brothers were the first to achieve powered flight. I first noticed the news on a USA today article published on March 19. The headline read, “Could Wright brothers, N.C. lose 'first in flight' stature?”

After doing a little more digging, I found out that an amateur Australian historian by the name of John Brown found evidence during his research about German-born Connecticut resident Gustave Whitehead that he says proves that Whitehead was first to powered flight in 1901 – two years before the Wright’s famous flight at Kitty Hawk.

In addition, Whitehead (an engine builder) designed and built the engine for his aircraft.

I’m sure we will be hearing more and more about Whitehead and his contributions to powered flight. The controversy has already started.

If you would like to learn more about Gustave Whitehead, here are a few sources to get you going:

The USA Today article:

A web site about Gustave Whitehead:

An NPR segment (audio and transcript) titled “Historian Propels Connecticut To Claim 'First In Flight'”:

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