I heard that there was a person who was sponsored by the government to make the first flying airplane. The Wright brothers beat him to it and this made him really depressed and he gave up his career.

Who was he? his name?

Thank you. /Google didnt help me much


The Smithsonian lists a couple of competitors including Samuel P. Langley, and Sir Hiram Maxim. Wikipedia has a reference to competing claims.

Langley was paid by the government; he may be the individual you're remembering, although I can't immediately find any evidence of the depression.

  • good sources :) – CsBalazsHungary Mar 28 '13 at 12:52
  • Langley and the Smithsonian claimed for some time that he had achieved flight before the Wright brothers... that makes it improbable that he was the individual who succumbed to depression. – Mark C. Wallace Jan 10 '16 at 1:51

In Hungary there was an article about this, but I am not sure you are looking for him. I remembered his name, here is wiki, it should be a good point to start. The name is Gustav Weisskopf or Gustave Whitehead depends which language you read.


Another of the fore-runners was Clement Ader in France, who probably did achieve steam-powered flight before the Wrights - but only just.

He also relayed operas in stereo before 1900.

  • There are plenty of claims that someone achieved first powered flight before the Wrights did (Whitehead for example), but they all lack the picture and the newspaper reports. – jjack Apr 16 '15 at 9:34
  • Whitehead was already mentioned in another answer; Ader had not been; Langley was the obvious favourite. If you know of any not yet mentioned, feel free to add them in a comment or another answer. – Brian Drummond Apr 16 '15 at 9:46
  • The other first in powered flight sufficient proof to my knowledge. I thus don't want to add another name. – jjack Apr 16 '15 at 9:51

Look up Glenn Curtiss . . . he was definitely a competitor and hugely influential on the Wright brother's story. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glenn_Curtiss

  • 3
    Please summarize the relevant features of the article in the answer. We want to guard against both link-rot and spam. – Mark C. Wallace Mar 6 '16 at 1:52

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