APQO Monitor

A Quarterly Newsletter of APQO

The Real First Flight

Let the Truth be known about the real first flight- and it was not the one by the Wright Brothers.

(Authored by: Lou MAGRITZER, Sydney, 18 Dec 2003, [email protected])

The media world, at least in the English speaking countries, celebrated yesterday (17. December 2003) the Centenary of the Wright Brothers' first motorized flight. However, they erroneously billed it as they quite frequently keep on doing, as the first flight by man.

Because another guy did it exactly 2 years, 4 month and 3 days earlier. The real first successful motorized flight occurred on 14 August 1901 in the USA, not by the Wright Brothers but by Gustave Whitehead (nee Gustav Weisskopf, a GBA, that is a German Born American migrant).

Whitehead did it in a monoplane (that he named "DOVE" because the wings had the shape of a bird's wing) while the Wright Bothers used a biplane (dual wings).

Whitehead must have been a true practical engineering genius, for he not only was the sole inventor, designer , producer and pilot of the plane but also of the two 40 horsepower kerosene engines used in his flights.

Whitehead flew the Dove, his 21st homebuilt Flying machine, early in the morning over a distance of half a mile. in Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA. He repeated his earlier success three more times in the afternoon.

On that occasion the American press reported his dream come true in the New York Herald, in the Bridgeport Herald and in the Boston Transcript, in words and picture.

Western Television networks showed today's re-enactment of the Wright Brothers' first flight in an exact replica plane in the presence of President Bush. Unfortunately they could not get it off the ground before it crashed. I am sure, he did not know that he backed the second "horse" not the world's first flight in 1901. He would have also not been made aware of the successful flight, with a replica of the Dove, on a German military airfield, as reported in one source reference the German magazine "Neue Review", No 18, 30 April 1998, page 62/63.

The internet is a great source of information about the real first flight. The Google search engine showed yesterday no less than 6,430 "Gustave Whitehead" stories. The first entry referred to an interesting website www.deepsky.com

On the international front of non-English speaking countries, I was involved in celebrating the "real first flight" for many years, particular in China. For example references to Whitehead's achievement and related aircraft safety & Quality information can also be found in some of my more recent papers/presentations made worldwide. A list can be made available on request.