Connecticut Senator Stands by Gustav Whitehead Aviation History

The Ohio House has approved a resolution repudiating Connecticut's claim that another aviator beat the Wright brothers as first in flight, but Connecticut state Sen. Kevin Kelly, of Stratford, is standing by the Connecticut law.

The Ohio House voted unanimously in favor of the measure on Tuesday and it moves next to the Ohio Senate.

Ohio lawmakers are responding to a 2013 Connecticut law that honored aviator Gustave Whitehead as beating Dayton-born Orville and Wilbur Wright's 1903 flight off Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, by two years.

"It is certainly admirable to acknowledge the Wright Brothers’ place of birth, but if history serves me correctly they actually flew in North Carolina,” Kelly said in a statement.
Ohio State Rep. Rick Perales said Ohio can't stand by while another state "sees fit to change history" without evidence.

He said aviation historians have examined and dismissed accounts that Whitehead flew a powered, heavier-than-air machine of his own design on Aug. 14, 1901, "or on any other date."

“I suppose two states can share having pioneers in the field of aviation. I would be glad to support a joint resolution between Connecticut and North Carolina. Two states celebrating the marvel of flight together could be exciting,” Kelly said. “Those entrusted with our nations’ history and Ohio lawmakers should be intrigued to figure this out and instead are shutting it down. I’m curious to know how Ohio lawmakers can suggest Whitehead never flew. Where’s their proof?”
Kelly said he plans to celebrate “Gustave Whitehead Day” on Aug. 14.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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