BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) -- History says the Wright Brothers were the first to fly, but Bridgeport residents say history is wrong, that it was in fact a former resident who was the first to take flight.
On Tuesday, the city of Bridgeport paid tribute to aviation pioneer Gustave Whitehead.
"Gustave Whitehead was flying right here in Bridgeport in 1901, two years before the Wright brothers," said resident Andy Kosche.
And now Whitehead and the plane he first flew have a permanent memorial in town.
Rainy weather didn't stop dozens of residents and local leaders from coming out to see the fountain and sculpture of Whitehead's plane unveiled, including his family.
"It's a long time in the works," said Whitehead's great grandson, Michael. "He finally has some kind of recognition of what he's done."
While the Wright brothers took flight in 1903 many in Bridgeport say Whitehead flew his plane first , and have made it their mission to correct history.
"We built a replica and I flew it at Bridgeport airport to prove this airplane design can fly," Kosche said. "Yes just looking at the design they said was enough to say it couldn't fly. Orville Wright said that, so we proved Orville wrong."
"I know over in Germany their history books have been re-written that he was the first one to fly," Whitehead said. [ Click here to learn about the Gustav Whitehead Museum in Germany ]
He, and others in Bridgeport, hope this latest tribute will prove who was really first in flight.
"Here was a German immigrant who settled in Bridgeport, he always wanted to fly and he beat everyone else to it and he did it right here in Bridgeport," Kosche said.
The tribute is located on the city's west end at the corner of Fairfield and State Streets.
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