I, Joe Ratzenberger, residing at 195 Princeton Street, Bridgeport,
Connecticut, declare the following to be fact, to the best of
my knowledge and belief:
I remember very well one of the early planes constructed by Gustave Whitehead (illustrated by Nos. 2: 2-A: 2-B: 2-C), constructed in his shop on Cherry Street, back of Hancock Avenue. I recall a time, which I think was probably July or August of 1901 or 1902, when this plane was started in flight on the lot between Pine and Cherry Streets. The plane flew at a height of about twelve feet from the ground, I should judge, and traveled the distance to Bostwick Avenue before it came to the ground. I recall the incident very well because I was one of several boys who clung to the back of the plane as it rose into the air and carried us off our feet until we were driven away by some of the men working with Gustave Whitehead. This plane had folding wings constructed on bamboo poles. I know that it had a motor in it for I recall the noise that it made. It was a boat shaped plane and traveled on the ground on wheels.
I recall other planes constructed by Gustave Whitehead which he tested by attaching them to a stake in his yard and letting the motor drive them so that they were kept going about in a circle.
I did not see a flight that was made at Black Rock, but recall very well having been told about the flight and that the plane landed in the water. The boys of our crowd flocked out to Sandy Beach to see it but it was not taken up again on that particular day.
Signed and Witnessed