Photo of Orville Wright making the first powered flight on Dec. 17, 1903.
Dec. 17, 1903: Orville Wright takes off on the first successful powered flight. (Photo: Library of Congress)

Bill defending Wright history in Ohio Senate

In NAHA News /

COLUMBUS, Ohio—The Ohio Senate has taken up a bill repudiating Connecticut’s claim that one of its residents made a powered flight two years earlier than the Wright brothers.

The bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, testified in favor of House Concurrent Resolution 8 on Wednesday, Sept. 23, to the Senate’s Government Oversight and Reform Committee.

Two years ago, the state of Connecticut enacted a law that declared Bridgeport resident Gustave Whitehead first in flight, reinforcing local claims that he made a powered flight in 1901.

“Connecticut’s claim that Gustave Whitehead was the first to experience controlled powered flight comes from various accounts of witnesses that claimed to have seen Whitehead fly and a blurry photograph of disputed origin and content. … Respected and academically recognized scholars have found no evidence to support the veracity of this photo or the claims of powered flight,” Perales stated in testimony he presented to the committee.

The House passed the bill earlier this year. NAHA representatives testified in favor of it.

“With Ohio celebrated as the birthplace of aviation, it’s a well-documented fact that Wilbur and Orville Wright were the first ones to successfully make a controlled, powered flight in a heavier- than-air-machine,” Perales said.

The Wright brothers lived in Dayton and built their first airplanes in their West Dayton bicycle shop. They made their first powered flights on Dec. 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, N.C., and continued their experiments on Huffman Prairie in Greene County, now a part of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and a unit of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. They formed the Wright company in 1909 and built America’s first airplane factory in Dayton in 1910.

Click here to download a PDF copy of the bill.