The Connecticut legislature passed a bill last week recognizing Gustave Whitehead of Bridgeport as first in powered flight, getting off the ground in the Condor in 1901, two years before the Wright Brothers. The legislature declared a Powered Flight Day in House Bill 6671.
The debate has been around for years. In its 100th anniversary publication, Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft now credits Whitehead as “first in flight” in Bridgeport and Fairfield, two years before the Wright brothers flew in Kitty Hawk, N.C. The aviation authority was persuaded by a blurry, indistinct 1901 photo and contemporaneous accounts.
The Smithsonian Institution stands by the Wright Brothers, acknowledging that Whitehead did design proto-airplanes, but he “in all probability never left the ground.”
— Hartford Courant report