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Wright Brothers may not have been the first to fly a plane

world Updated: Jun 29, 2013 03:20 IST

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Connecticut lawmakers have legally discredited the Wright brothers as the US’ first-in-flight aviators.

Instead, Governor Dannel P Malloy named a German immigrant Gustave Whitehead, who is said to have flown in Connecticut in 1901, two years, four months and three days before the Wright Brothers’ historical liftoff over Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in December of 1903, the New York Daily News reported.

The Wright brothers, Orville (August 19, 1871 – January 30, 1948) and Wilbur (April 16, 1867 – May 30, 1912), were two American brothers, inventors, and aviation pioneers who were credited with inventing and building the world’s first successful airplane and taking the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903.

From 1905 to 1907, the brothers developed their flying machine into the first practical fixed-wing aircraft.

Although not the first to build and fly experimental aircraft, the Wright brothers were the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered flight possible.

File photo of Wilbur and Orville Wright with their second powered machine in May 1904 at Huffman Prairie, in Dayton, Ohio. (AFP/Library of Congress)

The Wright brothers’ status as inventors of the airplane has been subject to counter-claims by various parties.

In 1906, skeptics in the European aviation community had converted the press to an anti-Wright brothers stance.

European newspapers, especially in France, were openly derisive, calling them bluffeurs (bluffers).

Malloy announced the bill’s signing into law on Wednesday legislatively capping a 110-year fight between the Wrights and the Bridgeport resident.

The lawmakers got convinced of Whitehead’s achievement early this month after finding images as well as eyewitness reports that first swayed the Bible of Aviation, journal “Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft”.