Air and Space Curator: The Wright Brothers Were Most Definitely the First in Flight

Smithsonian excerpt

Many of the individuals who were most closely associated with Whitehead, or who were funding his efforts, doubted that he had flown. Stanley Yale Beach, the grandson of the editor of Scientific American and Whitehead’s principle backer, was unequivocal on this issue.
“I do not believe that any of his machines ever left the ground. . .in spite of the assertions of many people who think they saw them fly. I think I was in a better position during the nine years that I was giving Whitehead money to develop his ideas, to know what his machines could do than persons who were employed by him for a short period of time or those who remained silent for thirty-five years about what would have been an historic achievement in aviation.”

 Orville Wright (above) and his brother Wilbur are credited with having conducted the first sustained, controlled, heavier-than-air flight.  Photo courtesy of the National Air and Space Museum

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