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Ohio and North Carolina push back on Connecticut's 'first-in-flight' claim
"Janes" gives new credence to claim that the Wright brothers weren't first, but Ohio isn't buying it

A Wright Brothers aircraft
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Ohio and North Carolina both claim the designation “First in Flight.” The Wright Brothers are from Dayton and made their historic flight in the Outer Banks of North Carolina in 1903. But as WYSO’s Jerry Kenney reports for Ohio Public Radio, the two states are teaming against a new rival - Connecticut.

LISTEN: Were the Wright Brothers first?

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Connecticut Gov. 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 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.

Ohio state Rep. Rick Perales says Janes 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’ve 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 he says the Wright Brother’s legacy is important to the region. He’s introduced his own bill, which if passed, would put into state law that Connecticut was not the first in flight.


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