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First In Flight Exhibit
Now in the Discovery Main Level, Center Gallery

First In Flight commemorates three of Bridgeport CT’s contributions to flight: Gustave Whitehead who built and flew an airplane two years before the Wright Brothers, Igor Sikorsky & his helicopters, and the Frisbee which began here as pie tins from the Frisbie Pie Company.

This summer is the 110th anniversary of the flight of Gustave Whitehead on the Bridgeport-Fairfield town line on August 14, 1901. Included in the exhibit are photos of Whitehead and his airplane “#21,” newspaper articles covering the flight, the infamous contract between the Wright Brothers and the Smithsonian Institution promising the Wrights credit for flying first, and the story of Bridgeport teacher Andy Kosch’s successful project to build and fly a replica of Whitehead’s airplane.

Gustave Whitehead

Also featured are models and photos tracing Igor Sikorsky’s career from his youth in Russia through his successes in America, with special emphasis on the helicopter industry that he built in Bridgeport.

Igor Sikorsky Birth of an Industry

The final section of the exhibit traces the Frisbee from its origin as pie plates from the Frisbie Pie Co., whose delivery drivers took neighborhood games and taught them to the whole region in the 1920’s, through the 1950’s invention of the plastic flying disc toy, through the creation of Frisbee Golf, Ultimate, and other disc sports, and even looks at how inventors and scientists have made science fun while inventing Frisbees that fly farther, faster, light up, whistle, and look wacky.

Frisbee Frisbee2