North Carolina: First or Flighty Seconds?

We've come a long way since aviation's early days

We’ve come a long way since aviation’s early days

Have you seen/read in the news that Connecticut is contesting North Carolina’s claim that the Wright Bros were first in flight? Ohio license plates proclaim the state is the “Birthplace of Aviation” while North Carolina tags say the state is “First in Flight.” Connecticut believes both are wrong. By golly, it’s a three-for all!  Ohio has argued the validity of their claim, in that the Wright Brothers were born in Ohio. Now the state is siding with North Carolina against Connecticut’s claim that Gustave Whitehead of Bridgeport, CT flew the first powered heavier than air, airplane.

Imagine if CT proves its case, what about all those NC license plates with the words “First in Flight” across the top? What happens to them? Do you have to add the word “not” in front? History books, bumper stickers, any number of souvenir items; all pulled from the shelves- to become valuable collector items. Soooo, remember that idea if NC loses the battle. Oh the uproar that is taking place among the experts, never mind the upheaval throughout NC if in fact CT was really first. This could be an unfolding drama worth following, assuming CT’s claim doesn’t get squashed in the early stages.

Then there’s the small matter of some sort of contract/agreement between the Smithsonian Institute and the Wrights. For a good summary click here.

As I write this, a Connecticut-ite traveling through North Carolina I am torn. If CT really was the site of the first flight, two years before the Wright Brothers, then of course that should be recognized and I’m not saying that because of my ties to CT. But do I want NC to lose that claim so dearly held and known to nearly every U.S. citizen- and maybe a few who aren’t? Perhaps those who are “in discussions” about this will arrive at a compromise if that becomes necessary. Say, if the Wright Brothers’ flight was longer, or their plane was heavier- hey I don’t know but that way NC could be first with a flight longer than “whatever” and still retain their motto.

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