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Forget Gustave. There Was a Woman Behind the First Flight

Gustave Whitehead became a household name in Connecticut in 2013 when the editor of the highly-respected aviation magazine IHS Jane's All the World's Aircraftdeclared Gustave Whitehead had been treated "shabbily by history." This comment came after Australian historian John Brown found a picture of a plane he alleged Gustave Whitehead flew in Bridgeport two years before the Wright brothers got their 1903 Flyer off the ground. 

Whitehead is the most controversial challenge to the Wright legacy - but not the only one. We talk about a few of them through the eyes of Katharine Wright, the younger sister of Wilbur and Orville, and the woman whose influence was instrumental in getting that plane off the ground, likely before the others. (Sorry, Whitehead fans) 

Did you even know the Wright brothers had a sister?


  • Harry Haskell - Editor and author of Maiden Flight, a novel about his grandfather's marriage to Katharine Wright, and three nonfiction books, including The Early Music Revival: A History.
  • Dr. Tom Crouch - Senior curator, Aeronautics Department, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. He is the author of several books including The Bishop’s Boys: A Life of Wilbur and Orville Wright and Wings: A History of Aviation From Kites to the Space Age.
  • Jerry Roberts - Executive Director of the New England Air Museum. 

?You can join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show. 

Betsy started as an intern at WNPR in 2011 after earning a Master's Degree in American and Museum Studies from Trinity College. She served as the Senior Producer for 'The Colin McEnroe Show' for several years before stepping down in 2021 and returning to her previous career as a registered nurse. She still produces shows with Colin and the team when her schedule allows.

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