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The Fairfield Museum

Celebrating aviation history



A model of the airplane flown by Gustave Whitehead hangs in the Discovery Museum’s lobby

Photographs: Fairfield Museum and History Center

The Fairfield Museum and History Center and the Discovery Museum of Bridgeport recently partnered to celebrate aviation history. The Fairfield Museum hosted a presentation by aviation historian John Brown. Brown discussed his research on Gustave Whitehead, a German immigrant who arrived in America in 1894 and moved to Bridgeport in 1900. In 1901—before the Wright Brothers—he piloted the world’s first documented successful airplane flight in Bridgeport. His plane flew a distance of one and a half miles at an altitude of 200 feet before a crowd of dazzled onlookers. The Discovery Museum and the Fairfield Museum cosponsored an event at the Discovery Museum later that week. Amateur historians, scholars, government officials, and even Whitehead’s great grandniece, Claire Whitehead, came out for a day of speakers, activities and demonstrations.


John Brown, State Representative Tony Hwang, Claire Whitehead and Jeffrey Bishop


Fairfield First Selectman Mike Tetreau, aviation historian John Brown and Director of the Whitehead Replica Project Andy Kosch

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