Ohio toiled 15 months on license plate, missed backwards plane

·2 min read

Remember a few months ago when everyone pointed out to Ohio that they put the Wright Flyer backwards on the state's new license plate? Well, it turns out the story is even more embarrassing than we first thought, at least according to information the Associated Press found.

The news organizations obtained public records of the entire design process. The state spent 15 months developing the plate from start to finish.

Designers at the Ohio Department of Public Safety fussed over details like the colors and the plate's rural and urban themes. The Ohio State Highway Patrol tested for readability. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and his wife, Fran, were also involved, right down to deciding the breed of the playful dog used in the design. DeWine told Public Safety officials at the plate's unveiling that his wife “probably drove them crazy” with her input.

Not once did anyone point out the backwards plane.

Ohio and North Carolina have long feuded over the claim that they are the birthplace of aviation, but no one involved in developing the plate seemed to understand that the Wright Flyer they claim as their own has a different design from modern aircraft, with what would typically be the tail structure positioned up front.

It's an oversight North Carolina could not help but exploit.

“Y’all leave Ohio alone,” tweeted the Department of Transportation in North Carolina, where the Wrights first achieved powered flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903. “They wouldn’t know. They weren’t there.”

Not only that, but the incorrect license plate went into production. Columbus, Ohio's CBS affiliate 10 WBNS found out that the state had produced 35,000 examples of the license plate. Apparently they will be recycled, and the corrected design was put into production after the mistake was discovered.

The "Sunrise in Ohio" license plate is now available to vehicle owners in Ohio, with the correctly oriented plane. We'll also be curious to see if any of the misprinted plates escape the recycling process. We bet they could be some real collectibles if they do.

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