Hey Connecticut, Back off first flight claims: Ohio was first

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Hey Connecticut, Back off first flight claims: Ohio was first

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Ty Greenlees
Dan Patterson, Artist in Residence with the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park had a 1904 image of the Wright Brothers on Huffman Prairie printed on mesh for display on the site of the original photo. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

The war between Ohio and Connecticut over who was first in flight has heated up again with both sides claiming pioneering aviators in their home state claim the title.

Ohio Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, is scheduled Friday to trek to Huffman Prairie Flying Field where Orville and Wilbur Wright perfected the airplane to present a proclamation declaring the Dayton duo first to fly in powered flight. The Wright brothers first took to the air Dec. 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Perales introduced the resolution in the legislature, which passed in late 2015.

The latest declaration was meant to repudiate Connecticut’s claims Gustave Whitehead flew Aug. 14, 1901, beating the Wrights in the race to the skies by two years. Connecticut officials honored Gustave at a ceremony Monday in Bridgeport.

“I think this helps remind people that history does not agree with what the people in Connecticut are saying,” said Timothy Gaffney, a National Aviation Heritage Alliance spokesman. “…It has yet to show that Gustave Whitehead ever made a powered flight in his airplane at any time much less in 1901.”

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