First Flight is a documentary about the controversy over the world’s first motorized flight. Every school child is taught that the brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright flew first in December 1903. But the Australian aviation expert John Brown argues that the German-born immigrant to the U.S., Gustave Whitehead, flew two years before the Wright Brothers, in August 1901 in Bridgeport Connecticut.
Opposing Brown are historians supporting the official view that the Wright Brothers flew first. They claim that the 17 eye-witness accounts from the 1930s attesting to Whitehead’s flights are unreliable.
We also discover that in return for the right to display the 1903 flyer in their museum, the Smithsonian Institution agreed that it will never claim that anyone flew before the Wrights. History may not be as certain as we thought.