National Aviation Day – August 19

Man first took to the air in 1783 when Joseph-Michael and Jacques-Ètienne Montgolfier engineered the first hot-air balloon flights.

The Wright Brothers “Flying Machine,” the first powered airplane to execute controlled and sustained flight, gained world acclaim on December 17, 1903. In a world today replete with technological marvels that seem to emerge almost routinely, the wonders of yester-year appear commonplace. Yet without the courage and innovation of early air-pioneers and their revolutionary impact on air travel, we wouldn’t be where we are today – working toward exploring other worlds.

Aviation has advanced at an incredible speed of change.

To lift us out of a ho-hum attitude about the miracle of flight, National Aviation Day makes such a worthy national celebration. It takes place yearly on August 19 — Orville Wright’s birthday! Established in 1939, Franklin Roosevelt’s presidential proclamation marked Orville Wright‘s birthday as National Aviation Day (Mr. Wright, born in 1871, lived to enjoy that proclamation when first issued.)

Travel today by air continues to see major advancements. Everyday pilots and air travelers may be interested in the Aeronautical Information Manual: Official Guide to Basic Flight Information and ATC (Air Traffic Control) Procedures. This print subscription is designed to provide the aviation community with the most up-to-date fundamentals required for flying safely in the United States.

However, it’s the race to other planets that now captures our collective imagination. The first flights that lifted man off the earth began this journey. But who could imagine that the space race among the United States and Russia during the late fifties and sixties would be the scientific laboratory that has created so many incredible new products and wonder of scientific achievement?

Propeller-pushed air gave way to jet propulsion, then on to massive missiles with guidance capabilities beyond our wildest imaginations.

The ultimate ride to the ends of the universe has just begun!

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About the author: Blogger contributor Ed Kessler is a Promotions Specialist in GPO’s Publication and Information Sales program office.

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