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National Aviation Day is a celebration in America commemorating the development of aviation and honoring one of the Wright brothers’ birthday, Orville. In 1939, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt designated August 19 as National Aviation Day.
See the fact file below for more information on the National Aviation Day or alternatively, you can download our 24-page National Aviation Day worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Man and Flying: History of Aviation
- After four years of research and design, American brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright successfully flew a 120-foot, 12-second flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903. The Wright brothers made the first powered and controlled flight in a heavier-than-air flying machine called the Wright Flyer. Before then, people had only flown in gliders and balloons.
- The Wright Flyer was considered the first real airplane, which became the foundation of subsequent designs in aviation.
- When World War I broke out in 1914, airplanes were mainly used for military purposes. Airplanes were known as the new flying machines.
- Aircraft were quickly recognized and manufactured during WWI. The military improved both the power and size of motorized planes, which became capable of speeds of up to 130 miles per hour. During the war, civilians came to associated aviation with bombings and surveillance, thus making commercial aviation less popular.
- After the war, there was a large surplus of airplanes in Europe. In the United States, Congress appropriated $100,000 for experimental airmail in 1917 to save the American aviation industry.
- On May 14, 1918, the first airmail flight left Belmont Park, Long Island, for Philadelphia, and to Washington with President Woodrow Wilson waiting. From then, the U.S. Army and Post Office continued to develop transcontinental air services to make use of the large surplus of war aircraft.
- On May 20, 1927, Charles Lindbergh became the first pilot to cross the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Paris. It was the first transatlantic non-stop flight in an airplane. His success made him famous and an American hero, which sparked investor interest in the aviation industry. His flight took 33 hours and 29 minutes before landing at Le Bourget Field, outside Paris, France.
- In the 1930s, Amelia Earhart emerged as one of the leading aviatrices in the United States. She became the first woman to cross the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Unfortunately, she disappeared in a flight while attempting to be the first person to circumnavigate the world using an airplane, in 1937.
- In 1933, the first modern passenger airliner, Boeing 247, was built. It could carry 10 passengers and fly at 155 miles per hour.
- In 1936, American Airlines designed the DC-3 model, which became the dominant commercial aircraft in the United States.
- When World War II broke out in 1939, most planes were used as bombers and fighters. Aircraft manufacturers in the United States produced 50,000 planes a year. Aside from mass production, there were numerous advances in aircraft design during the war. Planes became faster and able to fly higher and farther. Jet engines and radar also became new features in military planes.
- It was Hans von Ohain who first built and tested a jet aircraft for the Germans in 1939. Ohain was a student of British pilot Frank Whittle who practically applied Isaac Newton’s laws of physics and designed the first jet engine.
- In 1969, Pan Am acquired the Boeing 747 and became the first to fly in commercial service. It could accommodate up to 450 passengers.
- Today, aerospace aviation is man’s future technology. With continued advancements, space exploration and tourism are becoming possible.
Celebrating Aviation Day
- The National Aviation Day celebration every 19th of August is a legacy of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt to honor the birth of Orville Wright and the development of the aviation industry in the United States.
- On this day, Americans and aviation enthusiasts are encouraged to celebrate the history of aviation. Airports and aviation museums often have activities to enjoy. In educational institutions, aviation-related materials are studied to help children appreciate aviation.
- For those who have pilot’s certificates, the day is the perfect time to enjoy a flight with family and friends.
- Aside from visiting aviation museums, children also enjoy building model airplanes out of paper materials.
Politics and Government
- In 1997, the new Polish Constitution confirmed a representative democratic form of government. The political structure centers on the Council of Ministers led by a prime minister. The head of state is the president who is elected by popular vote every five years. Today, Andrzej Duda is Poland’s president and Mateusz Morawiecki is the prime minister.
- A bicameral parliament with 460 members of the lower house (Sejm) and 100 Senate members (Senat) are all elected by Polish voters. A joint session also known as a National Assembly is formed on these three occasions: When the newly elected president takes the oath of office, when an indictment against the president is brought through the State Tribunal, and when the president declares incapacity to fulfill required duties due to health issues.
Famous People in Flight History
- In addition to the Wright brothers, there are several people who made their mark in aviation history. Leonardo Da Vinci was an Italian artist who was also known for inventing the airscrew in 1490. Unfortunately, his aviation designs and inventions were only discovered 400 years after his death.
- A New Zealand farmer named Richard Pearse invented the first petrol engine in 1902. However, his first flight was not sustained and recorded. Months later after the success of the Wright brothers, Pearse had his first official recorded flight.
- Prior to Amelia Earhart, Jean Batten, a New Zealand aviatrix, made several record-breaking solo flights across the world. In 1938, she became the first woman to be awarded the medal of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale.
- Glenn Hammond Curtiss was the Wright brothers’ greatest rival in 1908. He was known for designing the first practical seaplane that could both take off and land on the decks of aircraft carriers. Curtiss was named as the Father of Naval Aviation because of his flying boats and JN-4, both used during WWI.
- Bessie Coleman was the first African American woman to receive an international pilot’s license. She was a stunt pilot who became known as Brave Bessie.
- Among others are Otto Lilienthal (long gliding flight designs), Frank Whittle (inventor of turbojet engine), Harriet Quimby (first woman to fly across the English Channel), Sally Ride (first American woman in space), and Neil Armstrong (first man to step on the moon).
Additional Flying Facts
- According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, every U.S. commercial aircraft contains NASA-developed technologies such as the glass cockpit, chevrons and winglets.
- The de facto international language of aviation is English.
- The world’s oldest airline still in operation is Dutch KLM Airlines or Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij, formerly known as the Royal Aviation Company built in 1919.
- United Airlines hired the first female flight attendants in 1930.
- The Boeing 747 was also known as the Queen of the Skies or the Jumbo Jet for being the first huge body aircraft produced.
- Aviophobia is defined as the fear of flying, while acrophobia is the fear of heights or being far from the ground.
- In 2012, Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta was named as the world’s busiest commercial airport with over 95 million passengers per year, which is equivalent to more than 260,000 daily passengers.
- In 1979, Qantas Airways was the first to introduce the business class section, which was soon followed by the British Airways and American Airlines.
- Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is the world’s fastest airplane, flying at 2,193 miles per hour. The largest passenger airliner is the Airbus A380 with about 4 million parts.
- The Father of Aviation was George Cayley, an English aviator who built the first glider that could fly short distances.
- The first transatlantic airmail flight was made by British airmen John Alcock and Arthur Brown when they flew a nonstop flight from Newfoundland to Ireland.
National Aviation Day Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about National Aviation Day across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use National Aviation Day worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the National Aviation Day which is a celebration in America commemorating the development of aviation and honoring one of the Wright brothers’ birthday, Orville. In 1939, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt designated August 19 as National Aviation Day.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- National Aviation Day Facts
- Aviation Figures
- Flying with the Wrights
- Greatest Sky Moments
- Sky’s the Limit
- Up, Up and Away!
- Fly High
- Spread Your Wings
- The Aviator
- Celebrate Flying!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is National Aviation Day celebrated?
National Aviation Day is celebrated on the 19th of August. This is the same day as Orville Wright’s birthday. He was one of the Wright brothers who helped develop aviation.
Who made Aviation Day?
National Aviation Day was established in 1939 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He made a proclamation that said the anniversary of Orville Wright’s birthday should be National Aviation Day. Mr. Wright was born in 1871 and was still alive when the proclamation was first issued. He would live for another nine years.
What day is National Helicopter Day?
World Helicopter Day is an event that occurs annually to honor the engineers who build helicopters and those who use them for essential missions. It always falls on the third Sunday of August.
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Link will appear as National Aviation Day Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 27, 2023
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.