August 14th is Gustave Whitehead Day!
First Selectman Mike Tetreau announced today that he has proclaimed Sunday, August 14, 2016 as “Gustave Whitehead Day” in the Town of Fairfield. First Selectman Tetreau has issued a proclamation to celebrate August 14th as the 115th anniversary of Whitehead’s 1901 historic “First in Flight” in Fairfield which took place prior to the 1903 flight of the Wright Brothers in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. First Selectman Tetreau said, “It is important our Town continues to honor Gustave Whitehead and his unforgettable legacy. Whitehead’s historic flight is exciting and very meaningful to our community and puts Fairfield in the spotlight with the most important milestone in aviation history.”
Full-Size Plane Replica Being Displayed August 14th: In keeping Whitehead’s legacy alive, Fairfield resident Andy Kosch will display a full-size replica of Gustave Whitehead’s Condor 21 airplane on Sherman Green for the public to view on Sunday, August 14, 2016 from 10 am to 4 pm.
Mr. Kosch, a member of the Town’s Gustave Whitehead First in Flight Advisory Committee and a member of Stratford’s Connecticut Air and Space Center’s board of directors, led a team to build and fly a replica of Gustave Whitehead’s airplane in 1986 proving the airworthiness of the design and refuting many Whitehead critics.
Fairfield “Fly In” Program at Fairfield Musuem and History Center: The Fairfield Museum and History Center will host a free Fairfield “Fly In” program to celebrate Whitehead’s anniversary from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday, August 13, 2016. For more information on this day, please go to http://www.fairfieldhistory.org/event/fairfield-fly-in/.
*** The revelation of Whitehead, who had once lived in Fairfield, first came to light when aviation historian John Brown discovered a panoramic photograph from 1901 showing Whitehead’s inaugural flight. This history changing event resulted in the authoritative aviation publication, Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft, endorsing Whitehead as “first in flight” making Fairfield the location for the first motorized heavier than air flight. Whitehead literally drove his plane from Bridgeport to Fairfield to make his first flight which successfully landed in the area of what is now Jennings Beach.
The Connecticut state legislature also officially recognized Whitehead predating the Wright Brothers’ flight when both the house and senate unanimously approved a bill that was signed into law by the Governor and took effect on June 26, 2013.
For more information on Whitehead, the public may contact the Fairfield First Selectman’s Office at 203-256-3030 or the Fairfield Museum and History Center at 203-259-1598. In addition, the public can learn more about this historic first flight at http://www.gustave-whitehead.com and http://www.fairfieldhistory.org/event/fairfield-fly-in/.
The photo shows Fairfield resident Andy Kosch and his grandson, Ben Benito, showing First Selectman Mike Tetreau a small replica he made of the first plane ever to take flight.