North Carolina and Ohio have long feud about which state deserves credit for the first airplane flight.
Orville and Wilbur Wright, who made that first historic flight, were from Ohio and built that first plane at their shop in Dayton, Ohio, but the plane flew for the first time at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
North Carolina got a big boost in its claim of being “First in Flight” when Ohio this week unveiled a new license plate with the Wright brothers’ plane trailing a banner that reads, “Ohio Birthplace of Aviation.”
The problem is that on that license plate the Wright Brothers’ famous plane is flying backwards. Flying forwards was a remarkable and world changing event, flying the plane backwards would have been truly miraculous.
It seems that whoever designed the license plate for the state of Ohio didn’t know much about the Wright Brothers first flight. If they had taken a trip to Kitty Hawk, to bone up on how that plane actually flew, it would have saved the state of Ohio a lot of embarrassment.
The Wright Brothers’ plane had the elevators in front, so what looks like it should be the tail of the plane is actually the front of the plane. Instead of having the 12-horsepower motor turning a propellor on the front of the plane, the propellor was behind the wings pushing the plane rather than pulling the plane.
This unusual set up evidently confused the folks in Ohio and they have the elevators at the rear of the plane where they are in most planes today.
Fortunately, for the state of Ohio the embarrassing mistake was discovered before the license plate actually went into production and thousands of Ohioans were driving around with the license plate on their vehicles.
But there is no doubt that Orville Wright piloted the first airplane flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on Dec. 17, 1903. Wilbur Wright had the record for the longest flight of the day at 852 feet and stayed in the air for a remarkable 59 seconds.