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    Ohio bill: Wright brothers flew first

    Photo of Orville Wright's first powered flight on Dec. 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, NC.Today I testified in the Ohio Statehouse in favor of House Concurrent Resolution 8, repudiating the claim that Gustave Whitehead flew a powered airplane of his own design two years before the Wright brothers, or ever.  My testimony to the House Transportation and Insfrastructure Committee focused on why this bill is important.

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    Standing up for history

    In The Dayton Flight Factory, you won't find any mention of Gustave Whitehead, the Connecticut resident who some claim flew two years before the Wright brothers. In my mind, it's not noteworthy. The Whitehead claim surfaces every decade or so, and every time historians look at the claim and find no convincing evidence to supper it. To quote the late astronomer Carl Sagan, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

    But some Connecticut politicians who were not about to let historical accuracy stand in the way of parochial interests passed a law declaring Whitehead—and their state—first in flight.

    Ohio Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, has responded with a resolution to repudiate Connecticut's claim, reaffirming Ohio's reputation as the birthplace of aviation. And on Tuesday, I'm going to Columbus to testify in favor of the bill, H.C.R. 8. Once my testimony is in the record, I'll share it here.

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