Statement Regarding The Gustave Whitehead Claims of Flight
Issued October 24, 2013


We the undersigned are convinced that the evidence now available fails to support the claim that Gustave Whitehead made sustained, powered, controlled flights prior to the Wright brothers. The arguments in favor of such flights are based on a single flawed news article combined with questionable witness testimony gathered more than thirty years after the fact. Whitehead's claims were rejected by local newspapers and by individuals in the best position to judge, including virtually all of those who funded his experiments. Whitehead left no letters, diaries, notebooks, calculations, or drawings recording his experiments, his thoughts, or the details of his craft.

While there are a handful of photographs of Whitehead aircraft on the ground, the best efforts of his supporters over a period of seven decades have failed to produce a single image of a powered Whitehead machine in flight. The recent 'discovery' of an image supposedly showing Whitehead in flight has been totally discredited and the image has been proven to not be of Whitehead's machine.

All of this is in contrast to the meticulous and multi-layered records documenting the success of the Wright brothers and other bona fide pioneers of aviation. When it comes to the case of Gustave Whitehead, the decision must remain, not proven. We strongly urge those who support the Whitehead claims to seriously reconsider the evidence in the case, and to rethink their position.


Peter Amos, Aviation historian, author

Michel Bénichou, Aviation journalist, historian

David Browning, Aviation executive

Leonard C. Bruno, Aviation manuscript specialist

Louis Chmiel, Aviation historian. author

Tom D. Crouch, PhD, Aerospace historian, author
Dawne Dewey, Chief archivist

Nigel Dingley, Aviation historian, association chair

Barry Dowsett, Aviation historian, author

Paul Dunlop, Aviation historian, author
Col. H. Larry Elman, U.S.A.F. Ret'd., former C.A.H.A. board member

Nick Engler, Aviation historian, author

Jonathan Fallon, Aviation historian, editor
Paul Glenshaw, Aviation author, educator, filmmaker

Carroll F. Gray, Aviation historian, author

Bill Grigg, Aviation editor

Dan Hagedorn, Aviation historian, curator
Richard Hallion, Aviation historian

James R. Hansen, Aerospace historian

Ken W. Hyde, Aviation historian, builder

Philip Jarrett, Aviation historian, author, editor

Bernd Lukasch, Aviation historian, author, museum director
Cam Martin, Chair AIAA History Technical Committee

Jay Miller, Aviation historian, journalist

Mick Oakey, Aviation historian, managing editor

Ian Oliver, Aviation historian
Frank Page, Aviation archivist

Erasmo Piñero, Jr., Aeronautical engineer

Simine Short, Aviation historian, author

Jonathan (Josh) Spoor, Aviation and aircraft historian
Carl Stidsen, Aviation historian

Josh Stoff, Aviation historian, author, museum director

Nick Stroud, Aviation editor

Julian Temple, Aviation museum administrator

Larry Tise, Distinguished Professor of History

Connie Tobias, Aviator, pilot, historic aircraft

William F. Trimble, Aviation historian, author, professor

Rick Young, Aviation author, editor



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