Charles R. Witteman
Original Content Is © 2013 - Carroll F. Gray



WITTEMANN, Charles R.

October 15, 1964

I, Charles R. Wittemann, residing at Paynters Road, Farmingdale, New Jersey, declare the following to be fact to the best of my knowledge and belief.

I was one of the earliest designers, developers and manufacturer of gliders and airplanes and established my first aeronautical shop in 1906 on my father's estate on Staten Island, New York. Shortly I required more space and in 1907 built a new plant especially for building airplanes. About 1912 I doubled the space of that plant. In 1918 I built the Teterboro, N. J. airfield and a new plant exclusively for the manufacture of airplanes, where over 300 were employed. Here I built the all air mail planes for the U. S. Post Office Department; some of which were later flown by Charles Lindberg(sic).

During the years I designed and built many airplanes for such famous flyers as Capt. Thomas S. Baldwin, whose many "Red Devil" stunt planes thrilled watching crowds every where including China and Japan, Lincoln Beachey, Lee Hammond, Cecil Peoli, William Badger, Blanche Scott, George W. Beatty, Hugh L. WIllowghby (sic) and many others.

During World War I, I was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson on a committee to examine and report on the aircraft industry at that time.

In 1908 I learned that Gustave Whitehead was experimenting with, developing and building airplane engines in his plant in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

I then called on Gustave Whitehead at his plant to examine his engines. While there, Gustave Whitehead outlined his sequence of development on various models he had built. He demonstrated his latest engine which proved to be well designed, within the usable weight limits, and very well built.

I bought that engine to install in an aeroplane I was then completing for a customer. This engine did run for long enough periods to successfully fly this airplane for short flights as shown on a photograph which I made available for proof of Gustave Whitehead's accomplishments.

I then included this engine for sale in one of my aeroplane catalogs under the firm name of C. & A. Wittemann, 17 Ocean Terrace, Staten Island, New York.

In the spring of 1909 I completed a helicopter for Lee. S. Burridge, President of the Aeronautical Society of America and bought a second Whitehead engine for this helicopter. To hurry the engine's completion I went to Whitehead's plant in Bridgeport to help him complete the building of this engine.

During that week I had the opportunity to discuss his many airplane engine experiments and developments and also his many airplane experiments that he had been working on. He was a very able designer and developer of airplane engines and also airplanes and could well have been classed a genius in that art.

This second engine was later used in an airplane I built in 1910 for 6 day bicycle racer Miller, who flew this airplane for barnstorming demonstration flights mainly around the Chicago area.

These Whitehead engines were 2 cycle gasoline engines, with water cooled jackets. They ran for periods up to 10 minutes or until they over heated.

On examining the photographs and data of Whitehead plane #21 I judge from my long airplane design experience it was capable of stable flight.

Sworn & Witnessed


Charles R. Wittemann, January 25, 1964, recorded interview transcript, p. 7

(Erik Hildes-Heim) Did you meet Mrs. Whitehead?
(CW) Oh, yes! Sure! She lived right there in the home.
(H-H) Was she opposed to his airplane activities?
(CW) Not to my knowledge.




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