Museum celebrates Whitehead's first flight

The Discovery Museum & Planetarium and the city of Bridgeport will host a celebration to honor the 112th anniversary of Gustave Whitehead’s historic first flight on Saturday, Aug. 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a post-event hot air balloon ride opportunity for a limited number of guests from 5 to 7.

The event, which is free and open to the public, includes presentations by aviation historian John Brown, actor and Whitehead enthusiast John Ratzenberger and pilot and builder of the replica Whitehead airplane Andy Kosch to promote awareness to Whitehead, who was the first man to fly in 1901.

Weather permitting, the replica of Whitehead Flyer No. 21, which Kosch successfully flew, will be on display with an interactive presentation.

Build RightFly Right Hobbies of Wallingford will fly model planes and have demonstrations suitable for all ages throughout the day. Planetarium shows, educational demonstrations for children and a tethered flight of the  museum’s high altitude balloon are also slated.

Guests are invited to explore the new “First In Flight” exhibit featuring period photographs, news articles and personal accounts of Whitehead and his 1901 flight on the beaches of Bridgeport. The museum’s more than 100 hands-on, interactive exhibits will be open to the public.

State and local officials and dignitaries are expected to attend a VIP Reception from 11 to 1 for an additional session with Brown, Ratzenberger and Kosch.

Event sponsors include city of Bridgeport, Fairfield Museum & History Center, Re/Max Heritage, Volo Aviation, Pullman & Comley and Connecticut Air & Space Center.