I think I’ve touched on this subject before, but a recent story out of Ohio made me think about it again.
The story in Ohio involved the issuance of a new license plate. The plate, the first new design to be issued since 2013, was vetted by many different groups over its 15-month development. It sought to depict the rural and urban aspects of the state, its history and appeal of its natural beauty. Even the breed of a dog shown on the plate romping with a young boy was hand picked by the governor and his wife. In a move to showcase Ohio’s history, the plate shows Orville and Wilber Wright’s airplane pulling a banner across the top of the plate proclaiming it to be the “Birthplace of Aviation.” The problem is that the Wright Flyer is going the wrong direction.
Most modern aircraft have their horizontal stabilizer mounted at the rear of the aircraft. The Wright brothers, having no previous aircraft to model their contraption after, mounted the horizontal stabilizer in front of the plane, ahead of the pilot. If you look at the license plate design above, keeping in mind the forward horizontal stabilizer in their design, you can see that the actual front of the airplane appears to be pushing the banner.
More than 35,000 of the license plates were produced before some aviation expert noticed the flaw and the direction of the plane was corrected.
Which brings me to the New Mexico flag. No matter how you mount it, you can’t get wrong. Backwards or upside down, it always looks the same.
In my mind, it’s always been a great design for its sheer simplicity and use of my favorite colors, yellow and red. But I’ve sometimes wondered if someone wanted to fly it upside down to signal a state of distress, how would anyone know?