After the Wright Brothers plane was misdesigned, the Buckeye State was renamed the “cockeyed” state.  

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was left in dismay when the birthplace for aviation unveiled the Sunshine In Ohio license plate, the fourth new plate in the past 20 years. 

DeWine wanted to reflect the Buckeye State’s ‘heart & soul’ as well as the beauty of the seal Ohio, all the diverse communities and the aviation history.

The DMV plate however, flipped the orientation of the 1903 Wright Flyer, a common mistake made by agency beauracrats. 

The license plate design was a mess. Instead of putting the elevators in the front, they were placed on the tail end of plane. And it’s a push prop design — the propeller is supposed to be behind Orville Wright’s feet as he faces the elevators. 

The corrected plate shows the elevators in front. A prone Orville is flying towards the left side of this plate. Orville was the first person to fly in 1903 from Kitty Hawk in North Carolina.

Ohio has introduced a new license plate. It is the first since 2013, and the fourth in the last 20 year. This was done to honor Ohio’s ‘heart & soul’. The design features the harvest country’ and a field of wheat in the middle. A city skyline is featured on the left to honor the ‘world-class cities’ (pictured: wrong version).

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles issued an updated version of the plate after it was debuted on October 21. The Wright Brothers’ plane, which is carrying the state slogan “birthplace in aviation”, was incorrect. The elevators, which are the small part on one side of the plane, were originally shown on its back like modern models. The Wright Brothers had them attached in the front. (pictured: the corrected version). 

The Wright Brother's plane developed rapidly over three years

The Wright Brothers’ plane developed quickly over three years 

The brothers’ built, designed, and learned to fly in their hometown of Dayton, Ohio,  located about an hour away from the state capital of Columbus 

The state checked their seatbelts prior to takeoff and discovered the design flaw on the same day as the reveal. 

“We are aware that this plane on the Ohio license plate was oriented in the wrong way,” the Ohio BMV stated on Twitter. “We regret this mistake and have corrected it.” 

The corrected design shows the plane in its original position with the elevators – small part – at the front.    

Governor Mike DeWine debuted the new plate at a press conference on October 21

Governor Mike DeWine unveiled the new plate during a press conference on Oct 21

Wilbur (left) and Orville Wright (right) learned to fly and build their plane in their hometown of Dayton, Ohio, located roughly an hour from the state capital of Columbus

Wilbur (left) & Orville Wright (right), learned how to fly and built their plane in Dayton (Ohio), about an hour away from Columbus. 

In 1903, they traveled to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina to test their plane. On December 17, they made four successful flights, with the longest being 59 seconds

They went to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903 to test the plane. They flew four successful flights on December 17th, the longest of which was 59 seconds 

Wilbur was flying the glider. Both Ohio and North Carolina's license plate pay honor to the brothers. North Carolina's features 'First in Flight' on their plate

Wilbur was piloting the glider. Both North Carolina’s and Ohio’s license plates pay tribute to the brothers. North Carolina’s plate features the words “First in Flight”


DeWine stated that the new Ohio plate, which was not updated since 2013, was meant to reflect where Ohioans “actually live”. This includes the prestigious big cities (Ohio is number one in the country with the most large cities) and the harvest country’. 

At a press conference this week, he stated that Ohio is a beautiful, beautiful country. ‘We wanted the plates to reflect that.

Up until 1998, Ohio's slogan was the 'heart of it all' until it officially change to honor the Wright Brothers' incredible history in the state. Since then, all Ohio plates have featured the slogan (pictured: the 1991 and 1998 plates)

From 1998 to 1998, Ohio’s slogan was “heart and soul of it all”. It was officially changed in honor of the Wright Brothers’ remarkable history in the state. All Ohio plates have carried the slogan since then (pictured: 1991 and 1998 plates).

“We also wanted the plate reflect the diversity of Ohio, in a sense that Ohio’s geography and where people live.” 

The Wright Brothers, who hail from Dayton Ohio and have Wright State University named in honor of them, took off from Kitty Hawk (North Carolina) in 1903. They flew from Dayton to Kitty Hawk in order to test their design. On December 17, 1903, Wright flew four times. The long flight was a 59 second flight. Aviation was born. 

They would fly longer distances back to Dayton, and even travel all the way to Europe.  

The North Carolina license plate proudly displays the words “First in Flight.”  

Ohio changed their slogan to “the heart and soul of it all” in 1998 and has used the design on all of its plates ever since.  

With 11.6 million residents, Ohio is the 11th largest state in the United States. It is known for its rich history in aviation and Cedar Point, a Cedar Point amusement park located in Sandusky Ohio, just an hour from Toledo. 

State residents will be eligible to purchase the new plate starting December. 


“Our goal was to reflect and honor the Buckeye State’s heart and soul and to look forward while also paying tribute to the past. 

The design features the harvest country’ with a field full of wheat in the center and a skyline to honor the ‘world-class cities’ on the left.