Friday, August 19, 2011

It's National Aviation Day!

Today, August 19, was declared National Aviation Day by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1939 to honor an event that occurred on December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina: the Wright brothers’ first successful engine-powered flight. It lasted just 12 seconds and covered a distance of 120 feet over the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk, but that was enough to earn the pair a place in the official US calendar of holidays (but that doesn't mean you get today off work).

Why August 15 rather than December 17? Today is the birthday of Orville Wright, bold pilot of the flyer that now hangs in the National Air and Space Museum. (It's his 140th!) Poor Wilbur! He not only had to stay on the ground and watch his brother take to the air first, but his birthday, April 16, if observed at all, is noted as National Librarians Day. On top of that, the better known Wilburs are a pig and the owner of a talking horse!

Happy flying to all on this National Aviation Day!

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