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Gustave Whitehead: First in Flight

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Gustave Whitehead, a German immigrant experimented with flight at the beginning of the 20th century. In 2013, the aviation "bible" Jane's All About Aircraft concluded from a study of the evidence (long debated) that Whitehead made powered flights two years before the Wright brothers, in the summer of 1901, in Fairfield, Bridgeport, and Stratford, Connecticut.

Following Jane's recognition, Governor Malloy signed into law on June 25th a bill that included recognition of Gustave Whitehead as the first man to achieve successful powered flight. Per the text of the bill, in Connecticut "Powered Flight Day" will now be celebrated to honor Gustave Whitehead rather than the Wright Brothers. For more information, see coverage by The Economist.

The Fairfield Museum’s library contains copies of the books by O’Dwyer and Randolph that present their research , which are now out of print, as well as the William O’Dwyer Gustave Whitehead Research Collection, which contains photographs, newspaper articles, and correspondence about Whitehead’s flights.


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