Connecticut honors aviator reputed to fly before Wrights - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Connecticut honors aviator reputed to fly before Wrights

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Connecticut lawmakers and family members of Gustave Whitehead to honor the 116th Anniversary of Gustave Whitehead’s “First in Flight." (City of Bridgeport) Connecticut lawmakers and family members of Gustave Whitehead to honor the 116th Anniversary of Gustave Whitehead’s “First in Flight." (City of Bridgeport)
BRIDGEPORT, CT (AP) -

 An aviator who Connecticut officials say beat the Wright brothers in being the first in flight by two years has been honored.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim and other officials joined family members of Gustave Whitehead in the city Monday to recognize him and the 116th anniversary of what state officials have called the "first manned, controlled flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft."

“Gustave Whitehead was an inventor and immigrant who made a huge impact in the world,” Ganim said in a statement on Monday. “His innovation paved the way for many other inventors and his legacy lives on. Bridgeport is proud to claim him and his contributions in aviation history.”

Connecticut officials say the German-born Whitehead, who lived in Bridgeport and Fairfield, took off from Fairfield on Aug. 14, 1901, and flew about a half mile at a height of about 50 feet (15 meters). The Wright brothers' flight was in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Officials in North Carolina and the Wright brothers' home state of Ohio dispute the claims about Whitehead.

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