North Carolina DOT trolls Ohio over license plate mix-up, sets off Twitter debate

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The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) wasn’t about to let Ohio off the hook for its new license plate design, which mistakenly featured the Wright Brothers’ plane flying in reverse. (Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles)

(NEXSTAR) – The “First in Flight” state is trolling the “Birthplace of Aviation” on Twitter.

Earlier this week, Ohio unveiled its design for the state’s new license plate, which featured an image of the Wright Brothers’ plane dragging a banner reading “Birthplace of Aviation.” But within hours, Ohio officials had acknowledged that the plane — as it was depicted on the license plate — was oriented in the wrong direction, making it appear as if the aircraft was somehow flying in reverse.

Ohio’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles later said they regretted the mix-up and fixed the design.

It was an “easy mistake,” according Alex Heckman, a historian at the Wright Brothers National Museum in Dayton, Ohio, where the Wrights did much of their research and development. As Heckman told WCMH, the front of the Wright Flyer is often mistaken for the tail, as it contains two elevators used for controlling altitude.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), however, wasn’t about to let Ohio off the hook, seeing as their own license plates boast an image of the Wright Flyer to commemorate the Wright Brothers’ first sustained flight near Kitty Hawk.

“Y’all leave Ohio alone,” the NCDOT wrote on Twitter. “They wouldn’t know. They weren’t there.”

The department’s tweet soon sparked dozens of replies from residents of both Ohio and North Carolina, many of whom debated the other’s claim to the Wright Brothers and their contributions to aviation.

Even the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District chimed in, asking a counterpart in North Carolina to “pick up this garbage tweet.”

In any case, Lindsey Bohrer of the Ohio Department of Public Safety confirmed that about 35,000 misprinted plates had already been produced. Those that were printed will be recycled, she told WCMH.

The news plates — featuring the Wright Flyer flying in the right direction — will be available Dec. 29 for newly registered vehicles and drivers in Ohio wishing to switch out their old plates.

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