August 19th National Aviation Day

Orville and Wilbur Wright did not invent the airplane. There were others before them. The debate of who invented it first goes on-and-on but we know it was not the Wright Brothers. What they did invent was a way to control the airplane.


Their first flight came on December 17th, 1903 and it truly was the first airplane flight that could be controlled by the pilot. They would elaborate on their success and help launch a mode of transportation that has never been equaled.


While the airplane was built to transport people it rapidly became a weapon of war. Above are the types of airplanes flown in World War 1, not long after the Wright Brothers flight. The planes were crude and fragile but they proved their value to the army, and to the world.

In the years that followed World War 1, there were many advancements in aviation. Transporting the mail, cargo, and occasionally people began to find a place in every day life. While war raged in Europe, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, proclamated National Aviation Day in 1939, placing it on August 19th, Orville Wright’s birthday (1871).


World War 2 launched the airplane into an entirely different world. Planes became more and more advanced and proved to be the most decisive weapon in history. Planes were able to fly faster and higher than ever before, Germany even invented the first ever jet. When the war came to an end, hundreds of experienced pilots flooded the world as airlines began to spring up and the experience of hauling cargo during the war was turned into a profitable business.


Today planes are accepted as a common way to travel, ship cargo, and make our lives better. Of course their use in war is even more advanced and effective than ever before. And to think it all started just a little over 100 years ago when Orville and Wilbur Wright, while not inventing the airplane, made it so we could fly one.

How to celebrate – Study the history of aviation.Visit an exhibit on flight. Learn how to fly.


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