James Verzaro, Jr.
Original Content Is © 2013 - Carroll F. Gray

VERZARO, James, Jr.

Affidavit, December 21, 1963

I, James Verzaro Jr. of 36 Highlawn Road, Fairfield, Connecticut have been requested to tell of what I can recall to Captain Wm. J. O'Dwyer about Gustave Whitehead.

I lived across the street from him on Tunxis Hill when I was a boy in my teens. I watched him many times working on his aircraft, the bi-plane that he kept in a shed. Many of the boys in the area used to sit around and watch him work on his aircraft and his engines.

I recall watching Whitehead taking the plane out and bringing it up the hill toward Orrs Castle. I can recall seeing it raise approximately 3 to 4 feet off the ground. The flights were only short hops as I recall, and I can vividly recall the great noise made by the engines. They had no mufflers at the time and the noise was very loud.

Some of the other persons that I can recall that used to watch him were, Mr. Kaminsky, Sheriff Elwood and his aide, and Louis Bailey. One time Whitehead asked Louis Bailey to jump in the aircraft and help him to operate the wings. Mid-way on the aircraft were a pair of wings, they operated as I recall by a cord of some type and you would flap them up and down in a bird-like motion. When the machine started up, that is the engine starting up, Louis Bailey jumped out and ran away because he was afraid of all the noise.

I can recall also that when the plane came down the hill, all of us boys would scatter to the four winds as the noise and the roar of the engine and the sight of such an object at those times was quite frightening to us.

I remember Louis Darvarich very well. He worked on steam shovels as an operator and worked for the Iron Ledge Company as well as the Grasso Gravel Bank Company. He told me about 2 flights he made with Whitehead. I knew him for a log time, and in that time I found him to be most reliable and honest. He was not known as one to exaggerate and was very sincere.

Signed & Witnessed