Skip to comments.August will be the 112th anniversary of the 1901 flight of Whitehead's No. 21
Posted on 05/03/2013 8:59:53 AM PDT by pabianice
The new Jane's All the World's Aircraft now lists Gustave Whitehead as the first to fly a powered airplane.
"...Today, it seems impossible that a vast cache of documentary evidence, such as those newspaper reports, can be overlooked by the world at large. True, there are small museums to Whitehead in both his homeland and adopted homeland (and gratitude is expressed to Flughistorische Forschungsgemeinschaft Gustav Weisskopf at Leutershausen for copyright photographs used here) but it is too easy to dismiss them as municipal monuments to a local boy. The reasons for the vanished recognition are several. The first is that critical examination of the Wrights' legacy is deflected by a non-sequitur of elephantine proportions: That because they were the most successful of the early aeroplane pioneers, they must have been 'the first to fly'..."
The early bird gets the worm, but it’s the second mouse who gets the cheese...
And it’s the early worm that gets to be a birds breakfast. Weisskopf was likely the first but the Wright Flyer was donated to the Smithsonian on the contractual condition that the museum would never allow a prior claim.
Smithsonian wanted their boy, Langley, to be first. They would not want the Wrights’ plane for years. That’s probably the point of the “claim disallow”.
The advance from an unpowered glider rolling down a ramp to a powered but uncontrolled wing is not IMO that notable a leap.
The newspaper accounts claim that he made many controlled flights covering circular and figure-eight courses. Photos will eventually be found. That is hardly an “uncontrollable wing.” Replicas have been flying since 1980.
Would love to know whether the replicas were exact replicas including the materials. Noticed what appears to be a king post for negative Gs in the photo. Doesn't seem like something that would appear in an early prototype, but maybe 21 was the 21st attempt.
The Wrights were not the first to fly?
Next, they’ll be telling us “The Jazz Singer” wasn’t the first talkie, “The Wizard of Oz” wasn’t the first movie in color, Milton Berle wasn’t the first man on television...
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