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US politicians decide on technology history

Wright brothers weren't the first to fly

It seems that US politicians are deciding on technology history with the same vigour that they have applied to science and evolution.

 

The Connecticut Senate passed a bill to purge all their history books which mention the Wright brothers and teach their kids that the first person to fly came from Connecticut. The Governor shall proclaim a date certain in each year as Powered Flight Day to honour the first powered flight by Gustave Whitehead and to commemorate the Connecticut aviation and aerospace industry.

Republican state Senator Mike McLachlan told his second favourite organ FoxNews.com that the Wright were not the first to fly. In this case the law change comes after historian John Brown unveiled in March what he calls photographic proof that Whitehead flew over Connecticut in 1901, “two years, four months, and three days before the Wright brothers.”

Brown insists that Whitehead’s winged, bird-like plane was called No. 21, or "The Condor" and it had wooden wheels and canvas wings stretched taut across bat-like wooden arms. It flew over the darkened streets of Bridgeport and covered an estimated 1.5 miles at a height of 50 feet.

Historians with the Smithsonian Museum continue to express doubts about Brown’s claims and some do not believe that Whitehead’s plane ever left the ground. But what is curious is that the US lawmakers think that they have a right to decide what is pretty much considered a historical fact. Still until recently they were convinced that they had a right to decide if their kids were going to learn bible history instead of science.

Senator Michael McLachlan has told Fudzilla that Connecticut legislators were not rewriting history, it was historians who were doing that. He pointed us to the global source for aviation history Jane's All the World's Aircraft which also declared Gustave Whitehead the first to fly.

Last modified on 07 June 2013
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