The Connecticut Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would eliminate the Wright brothers from history, explicitly stripping recognition for the first powered flight from Orville and Wilbur and assigning it to someone else, according to Fox News.
“The Governor shall proclaim a date certain in each year as Powered Flight Day to honor the first powered flight by [the Wright brothers] Gustave Whitehead and to commemorate the Connecticut aviation and aerospace industry,” reads House Bill No. 6671, which now sits on the Governor’s desk awaiting passage into law.
“There’s no question that the Wright brothers will retain their place in aviation history,” Republican state Sen. Mike McLachlan told Fox News. “And rightfully so. They just weren’t first.”
The Governor is likely to sign the bill as early as next week, McLachlan said.
Aviation historian John Brown unveiled in March what he calls photographic proof that Whitehead flew over Connecticut in 1901, “two years, four months, and three days before the Wright brothers.”
“At least in Connecticut, aviation history now appears to have been rewritten,” Brown told Fox News Wednesday. “I have no information about whether school books will be reprinted in time for the start of fall classes.”
Since Brown’s March revelation, controversy has swirled around his claims.
Historians with the Smithsonian Museum in particular — curators of the Wright Brother’s plane — continue to express doubts about Brown’s claims.
“I’m still absolutely convinced — as I think most historians are — that the Wrights were first, and Whitehead in all probability never left the ground,” Tom Crouch, senior curator of aeronautics from the museum, told FoxNews.com. Besides, history is factual, not based on laws, he said.
“You don’t legislate history. History is a process. People make up their minds based, I hope, on some thought given to the evidence,” he said.
“And I think when people do look seriously at the evidence for the Whitehead claims, they’ll see that it falls apart.”