Conn. decrees Wright Brothers were not first with powered aircraft

June 27, 2013 at 11:10 PM
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HARTFORD, Conn., June 27 (UPI) -- Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy has signed a bill to change history by decreeing Gustave Whitehead beat the Wright Brothers to powered flight.

Whitehead, a German immigrant who settled in Bridgeport, Conn., had been working on aircraft for several years by the time Wilbur and Orville Wright made their flight at Kitty Hawk on a North Carolina barrier island in 1903. In 1901, the Bridgeport Herald published an article by a reporter who said he had witnessed a powered flight.

Malloy signed a bill Wednesday that changes Powered Flight Day to honor Whitehead, at least in Connecticut, the New York Daily News reported. The Legislature passed the bill earlier this month.

The bill was inspired by support from the editor of "Jane's All the World's Aircraft," who decided several months ago that there was convincing proof Whitehead did achieve powered flight before the Wrights. Critics say the surviving photos do not prove much of anything and also point out that Whitehead was apparently unable to duplicate his early success, the Hartford Courant reported.

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