National Aviation Day

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National Aviation Day is an American observation that occurs on August 19th each year. The holiday was created in 1939, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed that the United States should recognize the advancements made in aviation. Aviation a term that includes all the activities involved in building and flying aircraft, especially airplanes.

The particular date to celebrate National Aviation Day was chosen because it is the birthday of Orville Wright, who along with his brother Wilbur, invented and built the first successful airplane in 1903.

Airplanes are one of the most important inventions in history! Today, airplanes affect the lives of people almost everywhere in the world. Giant airliners carry passengers and cargo between the world's major cities in a matter of hours.

Wilbur Wright was born April 16, 1867, on a farm near New Castle, Indiana. His brother Orville was born Aug. 19, 1871, in Dayton, Ohio. They ran a successful business making bicycles, but they took an interest in flying in 1899. They soon became familiar with all the scientific knowledge of aeronautics then available. On Dec. 17, 1903, they made the world's first controlled flight in a machine that was piloted, power driven, and heavier than air. They flew this airplane near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. With Orville at the controls, the plane flew 120 feet (37 meters) on the first flight. By 1905, they had created a practical flying machine that could travel dozens of miles. Every modern airplane is based on the Wright brothers’ invention and the principles of flight they discovered.

Here are a few popular ways to observe National Aviation Day:

Visit an Aviation Museum: Many airport and airfields have museums of aviation. One of the biggest aviation museums is the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. It is part of the Smithsonian Institution. This large museum features hundreds of exhibits on aviation and space flight.

National Aviation Day is a also great day to build a model airplane just for fun. Model airplanes range from simple toys made of wood and paper to scale models that can be flown.

Check out an aviation-themed book. Whether fact or fiction, a book about aviation is a thrilling read. You may want to read about aviation pioneers like the Wright brothers or American test pilot Chuck Yeager, the first person to fly an aircraft faster than the speed of sound. Or, you may want to read about how new airplanes are designed and built.

Learn more fascinating facts about aviation and other important inventions from World Book’s A Dream Takes Flight series on The First True Fliers.

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