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Wright Brothers Might Not Have Been ‘First to Fly’

Newly found photo calls into question who flew first


Whitehead_woodcutA photo that shows a man in Connecticut in flight is putting the Wright Brothers’ claim to being the first to fly into doubt.

The photo of Gustave Whitehead — a German immigrant in Connecticut — is on in the background of another photo of a 1906 exhibition, reports Newser.

The photo, if confirmed, would corroborate a 1901 story about Whitehead’s flight. Published in Connecticut, the story claims that Whitehead flew for more than one-half mile at a height of 40 feet. That would have been two years earlier than Orville and Wilbur Wright’s flight in Kitty Hawk, N.C.

While the editor of Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft believes the photo confirms Whitehead’s flight, experts at the Smithsonian disagree. People from the Smithsonian — who are required to maintain that the Wright’s flight was first as a condition of accepting their original plane in 1948 — say the picture is indistinct and proof of nothing.

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