July 24th National Amelia Earhart Day

A number of years ago I was searching through a local barn and found all sorts of photos and letters to, and from, Amelia Earhart visiting a local doctor. It got me interested in what happened to her and why she disappeared on her historic flight before World War 2. Other than being a real party animal nothing I found added anything more than what everyone already knew. She, and her navigator Fred Noonan, seemed to have fallen off he face of the earth in their Lockheed Model 10 Electra, better known as “The Flying Laboratory”. From all I read my belief is, she wanted to just disappear. She was a tough woman who had already celebrated nearly everything she looked for in life. Amelia was born on July 24th, 1897 which is why today was chosen to celebrate her life.

How to celebrate – Read about Amelia Earhart. Learn to become a pilot. Travel around the world.

August 23rd National Ride The Wind Day

August 23rd National Ride The Wind Day

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Today is not the type of day I thought it would be at all. It is all about human powered flight machines. Hang gliders and bicycle type flying machines allow you to literally, ride the wind. The Gossamer Condor 2 currently holds the record flying at 11 miles per hour and going 2,172 meters in Minter Field, California.

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The article about the Condor 2 does not say how the landing was. So maybe man really can fly… albeit with a little help from Mother Nature and a few well-placed pedals.

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How to celebrate – Learn how to hang glide. Build your own bicycle flying machine. Estimate how long it would take to fly from coast to coast in the U.S. using the Condor 2.

 

August 19th National Aviation Day

Today we celebrate flight and the men, and women, who made it all happen. Though there have been many claims as to who was the first to fly it is generally accepted that the Wright Brothers were the first to successfully pilot an airplane on Dec. 17th, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

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As such it is only fitting that we celebrate this day in the honor or Orville Wright, who was born on August 19th, 1871. The day became a National holiday when President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared it in 1939.

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If you think about the world of flight it is amazing when you consider the first recorded successful flight came in 1903 and only 66 years later we were landing on the moon, in 1969. It is possible a young child in 1903 could have witnessed the moon landing in their lifetime.

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Originally called Wright Brother’s Day this date eventually became Aviation Day because many others added to the history of flight in a relatively short time. (Also because others have laid claim to being the first in flight.)  Today, airplanes are hardly even noticed as they soar across the sky. A little over a hundred years ago it was considered a miracle.

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Who knows where flight may end up. The American government seemed to give up on space and flight advancement but now private groups are picking up the slack.  Just like with the Wright Brothers, life waits for no one.

 

December 17th Wright Brothers Day

Before the Wright brothers were aviators they built and repaired bicycles. They are credited with building the first airplane with a steering control system. Many, many other claim to have built airplanes before them but apparently none had a controlling system that allowed the airplane to turn or control it’s altitude.

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Their first successful flight was on December 17th, 1903. It was not their first attempt to fly. In fact they had been building airplanes for years before they got their idea; “Off the ground”. It was successful on the 17th for 12seconds before it crashed landed in such away that Wilbur and Orville were able to walk away from it.

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The above drawing is of their attempts prior to, and including, the 1903 successful model. It occurred just outside of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina not only making them a legend but creating the town with a tourism base for years to come.

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Wilbur Wright, American pioneer in aviation, and Paul Zens, famous French flier, preparing for two man flight in Le Mans, France, September 16, 1908.

Not too shabby for a couple of guys that could have been bicycle mechanics for the rest of their lives! the world owes them a lot, whether they were actually the first to build an airplane or not. December 17th has been celebrated as Wright Brothers Day since 1963.

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How to celebrate – Visit Kitty Hawk, North Carolina to see where the first successful flight took place. Read up on the Wright Brothers who had quite an interesting life. Try and imagine our lives today without the airplane.

November 22nd Go For A Ride Day

Today is “Go For A Ride Day”, a day to sit back and enjoy just going nowhere. As a parent most of us have taken our young children for a ride to get them to calm down and hopefully go to sleep. Well, if it works for babies, why not adults.

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Why not enjoy just driving up and down the streets in a car they might have driven in the 1930’s. Back before there were highways and freeways where the only point is going as fast as you can to get where you are going. It use to be that we traveled down country lanes watching the leaves turn colors and enjoying the crops growing on the side of the road. Now the only crops growing along most roads are illegal in most states except Colorado.download-2

Or if you are a little more daring how about a ride in an old biplane. Looking down at earth while sailing among the clouds. The open air cockpit letting the breeze blow on your face, along with the old and fumes from the engine.  But still, it’s your chance to soar like an eagle unless you are in Colorado and stopping along the highway and cultivating the crops growing there.

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Or maybe you feel like being a King or Queen for the day and riding in a carriage! I find it very relaxing to ride in a carriage, at night, in one of the old southern towns. (The northern towns are probably pretty calming too though I have never ridden in a carriage in the north.) It is relaxing though just hearing the horse’s hooves clap on the road way… and the horns of the cars behind you that are mad because they can’t get around you.

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And this time of year there really is nothing like going on a snow sleigh ride. Just don’t go in your bathing suit.

Seriously though, going for a ride with no place in particular to go is relaxing. You get a chance to think about things you haven’t thought about in years, enjoy someone’s company (Someone who has hopefully gone along with you on the ride) and see things you normally miss when you are in a hurry to get somewhere.

How to celebrate – Figure out your favorite mode of transportation and go for a ride. It may be a plane, a train or an automobile. Close you eyes and remember a trip you made in the past when you enjoyed going where you wanted to.Take your best friend on the ride with you, whether that’s a person, a dog or a memory.

June 18th National Splurge Day

It seems so appropriate that this year the day before Father’s Day is National Splurge Day. Splurge on your dad, he deserves it, doesn’t he?  I wonder if that’s what Adienne Sioux Koopersmith thought about when she invented the day in 1994?  Below are a few examples of how you might splurge on your dad for father’s day.

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How about a boat?  Just something small that he and his favorite 50 people can sail around the world.  Who knows, maybe he’d even take you along!

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Or how about a game room at home where he can disappear for hours and play his favorite games?  Maybe, on very special occasions, he might even allow you to come in and play a game or two.

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And there is always a home theater where dad can watch football or his favorite film. Then, when dads not home, you can use the theater yourself.

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Since you are splurging why not buy dad a plane like the one above. Sure, maybe he only travels a few blocks to get to work but think of how relaxed he’ll be when he finally gets there. It also may help with the family trips. Naturally it helps if someone in the family is a pilot but that needn’t stop you from making the purchase. You could always pull the plane behind your car like a trailer and show just how classy you really are.

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And last, but not least, you could get dad his own personal railroad car. Just hook on to any freight train or Amtrak and leave the driving to them. You may not know where you are going or even want to be where you end up but think of the fun you could have along the way.

Or…

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… you could just splurge and get him a tie.

How to celebrate: Think about the most outrageous thing you can buy for someone and get it. Write down a splurge list you can work on over time.  Hire a butler for just one day and live the high life.