Ms. Sue Brinchman is the daughter of Whitehead Advocate Maj. Wm. J. O'Dwyer, who co-authored History by Contract with Stella Randolph. She has posted her responses to my "Open Letter to John Brown" on her own web site, and the following are my replies to her responses.

25 June 2013

Dear Ms. Brinchman,

My responses to your comments and responses (posted on your History by Contract web site) are in regular face and your comments and responses are in bold italics.

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Mr. Gray is on the board of a nonprofit with an aviation magazine that has been a staunch Wrights' supporter and Whitehead antagonist; he also works on the Gustave Whitehead Wikipedia page with a group which appears to be concerned that the page doesn't show Whitehead flew - see the Gustave Whitehead Wikipedia Talk page for discussions related to this:

A few corrections are called for here, I have not been on the Board of WWI AERO since November 4, 2009. I was President of the Board for about 5 years. I am not a "Whitehead antagonist" as my February 2004 WWI AERO article (on your site you call it an editorial - it isn't - you're mistaken) about Gustave Whitehead's activities demonstrates. I am also not a "Whitehead Advocate," and I do not believe that Gustave Whitehead ever made a heavier-than-air, powered, controlled flight, sustained or not, prior to or after December 17, 1903. I also believe that Wilbur Wright made The First Flight on that date, on the last flight of the day.

My efforts on the Whitehead Wiki article (of which I am an editor using my own name) have the objective of presenting a neutral article, as per Wiki guidelines. I believe that you, Ms. Brinchman, also work on the Wiki Whitehead article but not using your own name.

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You ask…

How much “primary sources-type” research have you done?

My answer is a very great deal, over many years. One of my projects, spanning over 25 years at this point, is a 1,700 page, one-million one-hundred-thousand word aviation reference book, a week by week and even day by day listing of aviation events from the 1700's up to 1917, and very nearly all of the entries are drawn from primary sources.

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You ask…

Question - Do you really believe the Wright Flyer flew under its own power on Dec. 17, 1903 [which was two years, four months, and three days AFTER Whitehead flew for 1.5 miles and made four successful flights in one day]?

I believe, as I said, that Wilbur Wright made The First heavier-than-air, powered, sustained and controlled flight in a lifting surface machine. I encourage you to read my article "Five First Flights" to better understand what happened on December 17, 1903, and to understand why the machine at the Centennial event did not fly. You can google "Five First Flights" to find my article, there are several links to that article.

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You ask…

So where are the other photos from the wall? Yes, I believe Smithsonian is hiding them. If they aren’t, why are they the only photos missing from the collection?

The other photos on the wall at the 1906 exhibition are simply that, other photos. The Wm. J. Hammer photos line three walls of the hall, adjacent to each other. The ones above that line of Hammer Collection photos are simply other photos. The reason they are not with the Hammer Collection (all of which was donated to the Smithsonian) is that they were not a part of the Hammer Collection.

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You ask…

I think it is panoramic, by the way, it shows an extensive part of the walls. But that is a minor point, is that the best you can do, Carroll? Really!

My point, which I am certain you understand, is that Mr. Brown is sloppy with terminology and mistakenly terms one thing as something else. Clarity is important in these discussions and sloppiness needs to be pointed out and addressed in every instance.

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You ask…

Perhaps you can explain where the Whitehead photos that were part of the Hammer Collection, at least, on his wall in the exhibition, have disappeared to?

Most likely (speculation here) they were taken back by their owners or retained by the Aero Club of America. Not being a part of the Hammer Collection they were not with the Hammer Collection when it was donated, as I said previously.

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You comment…

Further, the curators make money from publishing Wright books AND Crouch is from Dayton, OH, the Wrights’ hometown. How cozy. Recognize Whitehead: have egg on their faces, embarrass the nation, lose income from publications that were false, have to change the history books, can’t go home to live in Dayton… you can imagine what it would mean. We won’t have change till the old guard is gone. As in retired. Good time to retire, by the way, Dr. Crouch! Before it gets more embarrassing….

This sort of nastiness doesn't do Gustave Whitehead's legacy any good, it only associates him with cranky people saying nasty things. This is beneath you to be saying such things. As for Tom Crouch being from Dayton, Ohio - is that a problem ? You are from Fairfield, Connecticut, where Gustave Whitehead claimed to have made flights, is that therefore a problem, also ?

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You comment…

Either way, the Contract, devised by attorneys, undoubtedly, for the Wright heirs, killed all birds with one stone. The Contract (yes CONTRACT) prevents anyone else from being recognized. Even Wilbur Wright cannot be recognized as first in flight, according to the required label, which falsely credits Orville.

I will express my own view of The Agreement(s) (plural) in a coming article on my Whitehead web site.

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You comment…

Further, if you look at the Herald about 95% of the pictures in it are hand drawn or lithograph or whatever, it matters not. It could have been drawn from a photo just as well. Howell was an artist and no doubt saved money as their processes were not the ones we have today.

Richard "Dick" Howell didn't draw illustrations for the Sunday Herald, A.V. "Dad" Barber - the Herald staff artist - did.

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You comment…

Carroll, you have taken the sentences from the Scientific American article about the Aero Club’s January 1906 Exhibition (p. 93-94 for entire article) that do mention viewing a blurred photo of Whitehead’s plane in flight, out of context (from page 94).

The point is (isn't it ?) that, as the Scientific American article states "No photographs of this or of larger man-carrying machines in flight were shown, nor has any trustworthy account of their reported achievements ever been published." A photo of a model aloft is one thing - that is not in dispute - what has been in dispute is whether or not THAT PHOTO shows a Whitehead "man-carrying" machine in flight. The Sci. Amer. article makes it clear no such photo was on display.

You've misunderstood, not I. A photo of a model in flight ? Certainly a possibility and the article says one was on display - but so what ? The exhibition was in 1906 and the photo discussed was of a model.

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You failed…

You failed to respond to two very clear questions I posed…

1) Do you believe that prior to March of 1898 Gustave Whitehead flew 4-1/2 miles across a valley, aboard a four-winged flapping-wing glider, taking off after a run of 30 ft. from a mountaintop at 2,000 ft altitude, as the New York World of March 4, 1898, tells us Whitehead claimed ?

and

2) Do you believe Whitehead made this flight ?

I understand why you chose to not address those questions, the assertion made by Whitehead is totally absurd. That is why your father and co-author Stella Randolph in History by Contract chose to not address it, also.

Care to answer those two questions ?

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You comment…

There is much more to this. You’ll have to wait for it, however, unless you wish to do your own research using primary sources. Start reading all “The Papers of Wilbur and Orville Wright” for starters at the LOC. We are not dealing with saints, here, this was corporate-style conduct of a quite nasty variety. A lot was at stake, a lot of money. That is one reason Chanute broke with the Wrights and many found them unpopular “back in the day”.

It might come as a surpise to you, but I have read “The Papers of Wilbur and Orville Wright” and all of them and many items more than once. The Chanute/Wright relationship was complex and not subject to tabloid-style throw-away lines about "corporate-style conduct of a quite nasty variety" such as you toss.

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Looking forward to your next communication,

Carroll Gray



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