Connecticut to honor aviator reputed to fly before Wrights

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut officials who say a hometown aviator beat the Wright brothers in being the first in flight by two years are honoring him in a ceremony.

A Bridgeport ceremony is scheduled Monday to recognize Gustave Whitehead and the 116th anniversary of what state officials have called the “first manned, controlled flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft.”

A replica of Whitehead’s aircraft will be displayed.

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Connecticut officials say the German-born Whitehead, who lived in Bridgeport and Fairfield, took off from Fairfield on Aug. 14, 1901, and flew about a half mile at a height of about 50 feet (15 meters). The Wright brothers’ flight was in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Officials in North Carolina and the Wright brothers’ home state of Ohio dispute the claims about Whitehead.

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