National Aviation Day

Other · 5 min read · Feb 09, 2022
National Aviation Day

There are many holidays celebrated around the world, but one of our favorites is definitely National Aviation Day. We would like to share the most important details you should know about this holiday, and how you can observe it and celebrate it.

So, keep reading to discover all you need to know about National Aviation Day now!

Two orange biplanes leaving a vapor trail with their pilots on wings, performing a stunt.

Why is National Aviation Day celebrated?

National Aviation Day is celebrated to commemorate aviation history and the development of powered flight, as well as to promote interest and support the aviation industry. This day is mainly commemorated in the United States. Therefore, it is totally understandable why it is celebrated every August 19th, the day of Orville Wright’s birthday who is one of the aviation pioneers known as the Wright brothers. The day became a holiday after the proclamation made by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939.

Let’s talk a little about Orville Wright and the importance of the Wright brothers for National Aviation Day.

The Wright brothers

Known as the first people to complete a successful airplane flight, the Wright brothers have an interesting story behind their success.

Wilbur Wright and Orville Wright were born in the 19th century in the states of Indiana and Ohio in the United States of America.

Interestingly, neither of these brilliant minds went to college, but their fascination for aeronautics and flying took them along a journey that would transform them into the inventors of the first fully functional airplane.

It all started with their father, Milton Wright, who one day, after returning from a long trip in 1878, gave them a small toy helicopter based on a model designed by French aeronautical pioneer Alphonse Pénaud.

They studied the work of the German aviator Otto Lilienthal, and after he died in a glider crash they decided they would carry out their own flying experiments. That’s how passionate they were. The rest is history, literally.

After many designs, mechanical development of the movable rudder, and many unsuccessful tries, the Wright brothers finally took off successfully, performing the first free, controlled flight with a power-driven, heavier-than-air plane on December 17th of 1903. The day was then declared by President Eisenhower as the Wright Brothers’ Day to commemorate such an important milestone.

Orville Wright’s birthday

While Wilbur was the older brother, it was the birthday of Orville Wright that was selected as National Aviation Day. But you may wonder why.

Although it is not exactly clear, many believe it all comes down to the story of the two brothers. Wilbur Wright was ready to succeed as a bright student. He was set to go to Yale University after finishing high school, but a hockey accident changed his life and plans.

Down with a terrible depression, Wilbur decided he would stay at the family house to take care of his mother who was ill. However, Wilbur did not stop reading and learning on his own, and many say it was his younger brother Orville who kept him engaged in mechanical and scientific projects.

Moreover, it was Orville Wright who took the helm during their first flight, while Wilbur made final wing adjustments, another reason to believe that Orville’s birth date was a great choice made by President Franklin as the date to celebrate National Aviation Day. Orville’s flight lasted just 12 seconds and covered a distance of 120 feet, but it was glorious for the time and it definitely changed human life.

What is completely true is that the legendary Wright brothers will always be remembered for being the first inventors to complete a successful airplane flight. And that flight will always be remembered at the site of the Wright Brothers National Memorial.

Black and white portraits of Orville Write and Wilbur Wright in oval frames, decorated with a model of their airplane at the top.

How do you celebrate National Aviation Day?

A common question among people who hear about National Aviation Day for the first time is how it is celebrated. They immediately ask what people do to commemorate National Aviation Day, or what are the best activities to fully experience National Aviation Day.

If you have wondered the same, here are some of the best ways to celebrate National Aviation Day.

Learn more about aviation history

There are many ways you can learn about aviation history, especially during a day like National Aviation Day.

For example, you could read biographies or memories of those who were the first to fly and their planes. But we are not only talking about the Wright brothers and their Wright Flyer in Kitty Hawk, there are others like Amelia Earhart who also made a mark in aviation history as the first female to ever fly across the Atlantic Ocean.

Also, you could go to aviation museums, where you will probably learn about Amelia Earhart and the rest. Or watch documentaries if you are more of a video kind of person. Of course, there is always the option to watch a film like the Aviator if documentaries are not really your thing.

Talk to people who work in the aviation industry

If you know anyone working in the aviation industry, National Aviation Day could be a good excuse to learn more about what they do.

Many people immediately think about the stars of the show, the pilots, and their airplanes, but aviation is much more than that. Take the example of air traffic controllers, without them the airspace would be a total mess and flying would be really dangerous.

Introductory flight lesson

Perhaps there’s no better way to celebrate National Aviation Day than actually flying. While the simplest way would be getting an airplane ticket and flying to the desired destination, we believe the most honest way to commemorate aviation would be to actually control an airplane as Orville Wright did during the first powered flight.

Build airplanes models

For some flying would be too much, they do not know anyone working in the aviation industry, or simply get bored if they are not producing something. If this is your case, then maybe building an airplane model could be your best choice for National Aviation Day.

Some models will also educate you about aeronautics, as they come with comprehensive explanations of the airplane’s components in the manual. Nevertheless, whatever your model is, make sure you have fun with it.

Four orange and white stunt planes in an airshow in flight across the sky with a vapor trail behind them.

Final thoughts on National Aviation Day

While not a public holiday but a federal observance that includes the United States flag being displayed in federal buildings, and a presidential proclamation intended to encourage citizens to participate in activities that may stimulate interest in aviation, National Aviation Day is a great day to remember that with the right approach we can achieve almost anything.

And the memoirs of Orville and his brother Wilbur learning mechanics in a bicycle shop and applying their knowledge to build the Wright Flyer and complete their first flight are great examples of the fact that it does not take much to achieve a lot if you really put your heart into it.

We are grateful that you have read until this point, and if you are really interested in aviation and would like to see your career in aviation take off, we invite you to take a look at the courses we offer here at Aeroclass.org.

Of course, if you want our help to make the best choice, you can contact us and we will gladly help you.

Enjoy the next National Aviation Day!

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Carlos Collantes
Carlos Collantes
A mechanical engineer and aviation enthusiast dedicated to share some knowledge by creating top-notch content, especially in engineering and aviation topics.

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