President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 set aside the August date to be known as National Aviation Day. Past celebrations have included free admission to U.S. aviation museums, special aviation-themed movie screenings, and other aviation events to commemorate the occasion.
AOPA has collected a few neat ideas for celebrating the day, and AOPA is not alone.NASA has long participated in the annual celebration, and celebrates the work of the famous brothers with a dedicated website that has collected documents, teaching materials and an overview of the story of the world's first powered aircraft test pilots. The aviation and space agency continues to play a central role in the development of aviation technology, noting that “every U.S. aircraft and air traffic control tower in operation today uses some kind of NASA-developed technology.”
A little more than a century after that December flight from the sand dunes, Federal Express pilot Jim Parker wrote in his blog on Aviation Day 2015, “Even Orville Wright could not imagine that over 100 years later 40,000 cities around the world would be connected by over 100,000 commercial flights daily, generating more than US$2.2 trillion in economic output and a wealth of cultural and societal benefits.”
Steve Cox, the Civil Air Patrol’s public affairs manager, said he sees National Aviation Day “as a special day set aside to recognize and celebrate flight and the many benefits it provides.” The organization prides itself in providing aviation opportunities for young people, and cadets are encouraged to learn aeronautical and leadership skills from professionals while sharing some fun along the way.
Sarah Wilson is a barnstorming biplane pilot who has donated her time and resources to encourage the next generation of aviators to take up flying. Wilson wrote in her blog about overflying meadows in a biplane named Buddy while the summer’s warm air hugged her tightly and “clouds blushed with white light” floated above.
Thinking about what National Aviation Day meant to her, Wilson told AOPA, “Pilots are lucky to know, and often forget, the rest of the world looks up at the stars and can’t imagine what it would feel like to fly among them.”
New York pilot Tomas Vykruta recently completed a circumnavigation of Central and South America in a Cirrus SR22 and used aviation as the vehicle to build awareness for multiple sclerosis. He provided short rides for patients who temporarily traded the bonds of their wheelchairs for the freedom of flight.
Vykruta was reflective about the opportunities aviation has afforded him after flying over the Northwest past Bremerton, Washington, Seattle, and Canada’s British Columbia. He said that National Aviation Day reminded him of being “a kid again, to look up into the sky and let your imagination run wild.” He said it was a celebration of hope and dreams “not just for pilots but for the human species, a day to fill your heart with inspiration and courage to do the impossible.”