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State Officially Recognizes Whitehead As First Man To Fly — Earlier Than Wrights

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Gustave Whitehead (Courtesy Discovery Museum, Bridgeport)

Gustave Whitehead (Courtesy Discovery Museum, Bridgeport)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut now officially recognizes a local aviator as the first man to fly.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Wednesday that he signed into law a measure insisting that German-born aviator and Bridgeport resident Gustave Whitehead flew in 1901, two years before Wilbur and Orville Wright lifted off from Kitty Hawk, N.C.

Whitehead’s supporters say they’re correcting a historical mistake. Supporters of the Wright brothers, including the Smithsonian Institution that houses the brothers’ historic plane, say Whitehead partisans are wrong.

A recent burst of interest in Whitehead followed a documentary by an Australian historian. Whitehead Research Committees in the United States and Germany also have stoked interest.

Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft, an industry publication, recently cited contemporary news accounts in concluding that Whitehead beat the brothers from Dayton, Ohio, into the air.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)    

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