For some reason, everyone knows that Wilbur and Orville Wright were the first inventors to successfully fly a powered airplane. And the state of North Carolina and the Smithsonian Institute have seen nothing but profit ever since. Because that’s how money works.
But, what if they’re keeping a secret, earlier, more Connecticut-y flight under wraps?
That’s what one “hobby historian” (read: not really a historian) claims, and he’s got the very blurry photo to back it up. John Brown — a possible alias to protect him from the Freesmithsonians — unearthed what he believes is a photo of Gustave Whitehead’s No. 21 airplane in flight from 1906, along with newspapers reporting its flight in 1901. The 1901 flight predates the Wright brothers’ more famous first flight by two years.
So, why would the Smithsonian refuse to recognize Whitehead’s 1901 flight? Because Brown’s photo is blurry and from 1906, and the 1901 newspapers repeated the same original article, much like how they do with AP articles today. (None of those articles, by the way, thought to include a photo of the first flight for some reason.)
Or it’s because the Smithsonian promised Orville Wright his place in history in exchange for the plane, which is still on display in the Air and Space Museum.
Until we find Gustave Whitehead’s flight recorder, we will never know what really happened in 1901. Or why the government shot him down. Or something.