Local

Who’s first in flight? This time, Ohio and NC are on the same side. Sort of.

As Wilbur Wright looks on, brother Orville pilots the Wright Flyer in its historic flight of Dec. 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk, N.C.
As Wilbur Wright looks on, brother Orville pilots the Wright Flyer in its historic flight of Dec. 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk, N.C. AP

An image that Ohio lawmakers now want to add to their state seal and coat of arms is one that’s been a source of pride to most North Carolina natives since childhood.

You guessed it: It’s all about who’s “first in flight.” And there’s a third party involved.

In a dispute with Connecticut over which state produced the brains behind manned, powered flight, Ohio wants to add the Wright brothers’ flyer to its insignia, the Associated Press reports. A bill to do it passed the Ohio House on Feb. 14 and goes before the state Senate Tuesday.

Yes, Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first controlled, powered aircraft flights at Kitty Hawk on North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Dec. 17, 1903. The feat is a bragging point in North Carolina, featured on driver’s licenses and standard-issue license plates that remain optional.

But Ohio, too, stakes a claim to the Wright brothers. Orville was born in Dayton, and the inventor siblings lived there at the time they decided to develop an airplane, according to historical accounts.

North Carolina and Ohio seem to agree on at least one point. Both reject a claim by Connecticut that Gustave Whitehead beat the Wright brothers by flying “the first manned, controlled flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft” on Aug. 14, 1901, according to the AP report.

“Our license plate should say ‘firster in flight,’ ” former Bridgeport, Conn., mayor Bill Finch told NPR in 2013, when Connecticut legislators approved a bill crediting Whitehead with the first powered flight, rather than the Wright brothers.

  Comments