August 19th is National Aviation Day in America. It was established by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to honor the advancements of American aviation. The date chosen was the birthday of Orville Wright, one of the Wright Brothers who flew built and flew the first successful airplane in America. In doing so, they opened the door for countless future engineers, inventors, pilots, and even astronauts.
Even before the Wright Brothers, flight enthusiasts were already successfully flying in hot air balloons and gliders. Here's a few major events in the history of American aviation:
1903- Orville and Wilbur Wright make first powered, controlled flight in a flying machine.
1927- Charles A. Lindbergh makes the first solo trans-Atlantic flight.
1932- Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
1933- The first modern plane, the Boeing 247, takes flight for the first time.
1947- Charles E. Yeager flights the Bell X-1, breaking the speed of sound in a flight.
1958- NASA is established. The goal of reaching the moon is established by President John F. Kennedy a few years later.
1962- John H. Glenn, Jr. becomes the first American to orbit the earth.
1969- Apollo 11 reaches the moon. American astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are the first to touch down.
1981- NASA launches the Columbia shuttle, the first reusable spaceship.
1983- Sally Ride becomes the first American woman to fly in space.
1998- The International Space Station is launched.
2010- SpaceX becomes the first private company to launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft.
2015- NASA’s New Horizons flies by Pluto and continues on
You can see a full timeline of the history of aviation here. It's quite evident that no matter what the time period, people have always had a fascination with flight.
Besides brushing up on your history, there are many other ways you can celebrate National Aviation Day. Check out the NASA website for lots of ideas and interesting facts. For example, did you know that most modern advances in commercial aviation were made while developing technology for space travel?
And of course, we can't forget about the flight jacket! Almost from the beginning, pilots have used special apparel and accessories for their flights. Especially in the days before cockpits were completely enclosed (or heated!), the right outerwear was extremely important. Check out our post chronically the many incarnations of the flight jacket here.