Ohio, North Carolina Fighting Connecticut Over "First In Flight"

Oct 25, 2013

Ohio and North Carolina both claim the designation "First in Flight".

The Wright Brothers are from Dayton and made their historic flight at the Outer banks of North Carolina in 1903. The two states are now teaming up against a new rival - Connecticut. Jerry Kenny of member station WYSO in Yellow Springs reports.

Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy last summer stirred controversy when he signed a state law that says a German immigrant named Gustav Whitehead was the first in flight. That claim got some traction recently when an aviation publication called “Janes All the World’s Aircraft” concluded that Whitehead was first, lifting off two years before the Wright Brother’s flew in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. But Ohio state representative Rick Perales says their evidence is based on a blurry photograph and that aviation experts support that the Wright Brothers were first. And he says it’s important to set the record straight.

North Carolina and Ohio have never agreed on anything, much less aviation, much less the Wright Brothers. All you got to do is step outside, get in a car and drive around in either state and look at their license plates. The key is that North Carolina and Ohio have a heritage here of aviation by the Wright Brothers. We share that. We understand that. We’re proud of that.

Perales’ district includes Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and says the Wright Brother’s legacy is important to the region. And he’ introduced his own bill on the matter, which if passed, would put into state law that Connecticut’s was not the first in flight.