We are pleased to publish a great article by Steve "Bear" Cartwright, a long time AVSIM staff member and well known contributor to AVSIM's Screen Shot forums. Steve has provided AVSIM exclusive access to his article, which describes the debate over who flew the first powered flight and his excellently written history of what really transpired.
Here is how Steve opens his article: "As a few of you are aware, back in June (2013) Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed into law a bill, claiming "First Flight" is now officially a part of Connecticut history, stating Gustav Wiesskopf /Whitehead was first in flight in 1901, over 2 years before the Wright brothers down at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903. This was the result of years of lobbying by so-called aviation historian John Brown, Wiesskopf (Whitehead) is "now" the official claimant to first flight honors, ….well….at least according to John Brown and now the State of Connecticut.
It appears Mr. Brown has been a tad closed minded in his claims, as the Wright brothers were the first in flight in what we today call an airplane, as per Sir George Cayley’s published statements (1799-1810), describing the foundation for a “successful” HTA or Heavier-Than-Air machine of demonstrating: weight, propulsion, rise, and control. Apparently also unknown to Mr. Brown, there were a number of individuals who did manage to get airborne with powered HTA flying machines, many years before either the Wrights or Wiesskopf, that’s no secret."