August 19 is National Aviation Day, a holiday that commemorates the development in aviation and its revolutionary impact on scientific and technological progress. It falls on the birthday of Orville Wright, one of the Wright brothers, who were the first people in the world to successfully build a motor-operated airplane, and the inventors of aircraft controls.
National Aviation Day was established as an official observance in the United States by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1939. Roosevelt proclaimed August 19 as the day for this holiday to be commemorated on, as it coincides with the birthday of Orville Wright, who was the pilot of the Wright Flyer, and the first person to fly a plane with aircraft controls that allowed him to steer the plane. The Wright brothers' contribution to aircraft technology was crucial in the advancement and development of aviation technologies.
Roosevelt's proclamation encourages the President in the office to designate August 19 as National Aviation Day every year and to motivate American citizens to get involved with aviation-related events that might be happening in their area in order to learn more about the history and technology behind it.
Aviation Through the Times
The fascination with flying is a centuries-old thing. There is the tale of Icarus in Greek mythology, the legend of Emperor Wang Mang who is said to have strapped wings to the back of one of his soldiers and ordered him to fly, and Leonardo da Vinci drew many plans for aircrafts.
However, many of the first flight attempts in history lacked a motor and controllers, which meant that people could be lifted into the sky, such as in an air balloon, but couldn't control where they flew to.
The Wright Brothers began working on their flight ideas while working in a bicycle shop. They soon realized that in order to build an airplane that could successfully fly long-distance it would have to have an engine. They were joined by Charles Edward Taylor, a machinist, who helped them build their own 12-horsepower engine, strong enough to fly an airplane.
After a couple of failed attempts, on December 17, 1903, with Orville at the steer, the Wright brothers successfully flew and piloted an airplane for 120 feet. This was a revolutionary moment in time that propelled the development of aviation.
What to do on National Aviation Day
On this day, many aviation enthusiasts visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial in North Carolina or visit museums and events dedicated to the history and science of aviation. This is the perfect day to try plane spotting!
Some cities will host amazing airshows, where aircrafts demonstrate their amazing technology and skills.
Schools may organize a whole learning day that focuses on aviation, and aviation pioneers such as the Wright Brothers or Amelia Earhart.
The goal of this day is to instill interest in aviation into the people of the United States.