Ohio Flip-Flops And Flies Wright Correctly


Ohio’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles did a quick 180 after failing its creative license test on Thursday with a physics-defying image of the Wright Flyer. The state’s motto is “Birthplace of Aviation” in reference to the Wright brothers’ Dayton headquarters for development of what is generally accepted to be the first powered aircraft. The BMV’s new design for license plates incorporates a banner-towing version of the aircraft that first took flight in North Carolina in 1903. Shortly after the unveiling of the new design, Ohioans flooded social media to point out that the rendering of the Wright’s ash, spruce and linen world-changing invention was depicted backward and was therefore pushing the banner.

The BMV wasted little time in flipping the image and announced a clean-sheet redesign the same day. “We are aware that the plane on the new Ohio license plate unveiled this morning was oriented in the wrong direction. We regret this mistake and have fixed the image,” the BMV tweeted, with an accompanying image of the fixed plate. What’s not clear is if any of the 35,000 plates already produced by inmates at the Lebanon correctional facility had made it to any vehicle’s back bumper. Those in the state’s possession will be recycled.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Remember the old expression, “it’s close enough for government work”? This is a good example. These are not the people that you want to be making major decisions regarding your health wellness and being.

    • They at least admitted they were wrong and made the correction. Note to physicians, especially ones who fly and to the medical industrial complex.

      • They at least admitted they were wrong and made the correction. Note to non-physicians also, especially ones who fly and to the industrial complex in general. I suppose you go to non-physicians providers for all your health care issues.

    • Govt PR bleat: “Note to concerned citizens: We promise to back off on our efforts to eliminate your choices and control your health care decisions now that we’re changing our focus to your personal finances, banking and spending habits. Thank you and have a nice day.”

  2. If any of the airplane-backwards plates made it into circulation, they’re bound to become as valuable as the airmail stamps that had the airplane printed upside-down.

  3. We’ve all seen the wrong version. In an article about the correct one, it would have been nice to see it.

      • OhiOoops? 😉

        As for who was ‘first in flight’, a mostly friendly rivalry I suppose, noting:
        – Wright Brothers lived in Ohio, did their technical work there, built their machine there
        – travelled to Kitty Hawk NC for flight testing
        – returned to Ohio for more research and fabrication
        – returned to NC where they made their first flights
        – performed more flying in Ohio
        – returned to NC for some flight testing, partly in hopes of avoiding media and competition snooping
        – etc

        They flew many flights in each of the states.

  4. Gotta love the tweet from NCDOT

    Y’all leave Ohio alone. They wouldn’t know. They weren’t there.
    #FirstInFlight Airplane

  5. > what is generally accepted to be the first powered aircraft.

    I’m pretty sure the Wright brothers were first since they had the first accurate wind tunnel data for wings and propellers, and the first aluminum airplane engine block. In addition, they had funding and a full-time machinist.

    They also did more than 1,000 glider and powered flights – the Wright Brothers were the first X-plane program.

  6. After NC and after they started to figure for higher DA which meant the Flyer that flew in NC would not fly in OH.

  7. Good grief, they’re both wrong, and incredibly arrogant.

    The birthplace of aviation (and flight) was France in 1783, well before the birth of the Wrights.

    Balloons were used in the U.S. Civil War, although I haven’t found any indication that they were used in either Ohio or North Carolina, so those states trail others in any claim for aviation firsts.

    • It seems that “Birthplace of Controllable, Sustainable, Heavier than Air Flight” was also considered, but that would have left no room for the numbers.

  8. So I guess Matthew Webb wasn’t the first person to swim the English channel, because there had been numerous people who crossed using rafts? Buoyancy (lift) is one criteria for “flight”, but controlling the flight path is the harder problem to solve, and the far more useful skill.

    Be careful with such arguments, Rick. At some point some scholar will blow the dust off a lost manuscript and discover the name of a hapless trebuchet-tester whose ankle became fouled in the rope, and was flung for a furlong.