Ohio reverses course after its new license plates showed the Wright Flyer backwards
Officials in Ohio had to — literally — reverse course when they realized their new state license plate design featured a plane flying backwards.
Let's back up. The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles recently redesigned its standard license plate for the first time since 2013, and unveiled the new look in a tweet last week.
This morning Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio BMV Registrar Charlie Norman unveiled Ohio's new standard license plate. The new plate will be available to drivers starting Dec. 29. Ohio last updated its standard license plate design in 2013. pic.twitter.com/tIOaeycgh5— Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (@Ohio_BMV) October 21, 2021
It depicts a brown field of wheat, green hills, blue waters, grey skyscrapers, a child and dog playing beneath a leafy tree and a yellow sun shining in the sky. At the very top, a historic-looking plane carries a banner reading "Ohio: Birthplace of Aviation."
The illustration is a nod to the Wright Brothers (who lived in Dayton for most of their lives), who created and flew the world's first successful motor-operated plane in 1903. But eagle-eyed viewers quickly pointed out that the plane appeared to be pushing the banner, not pulling it.
Within hours, the BMV had apologized for the error and released an updated version with the plane facing the other way.
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. This is the correct design that will be reflected on all new plates issued to Ohio drivers. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/HAire7kr9M— Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (@Ohio_BMV) October 21, 2021
Officials said the state would recycle the roughly 35,000 plates it had already printed, according to The Mercury News.
But that wasn't the end. Some critics took issue with another aspect of the design: The Wright Brothers' historic first flight (and presumably the model for the plate design) actually took place in Kitty Hawk, N.C.
North Carolina and Ohio have long been at odds over who gets the title of "first in flight," as Cincinnati Public Radio reported. Ohio is where the Wright Brothers were born and created the first airplane, while aviation history was actually made in North Carolina.
The two states briefly set aside their bickering to celebrate the anniversary of the first flight in their first-ever joint ceremony last December (it was virtual because of the pandemic).
So it was only a matter of time before North Carolina weighed in on the license plate flop:
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Y'all leave Ohio alone. They wouldn't know. They weren't there. #FirstInFlight ✈️https://t.co/bKL1TlT1Z8— NCDOT (@NCDOT) October 21, 2021