The Wright brothers are widely believed to have invented the aeroplane. However, there are several competing claims that make it difficult to determine whether or not they were actually the first to accomplish heavier-than-air powered flight. Regardless of those competing claims, the Wright Flyer was the first patented aircraft. Orville and Wilbur Wright made further experiments during the first decade of the 20th century, which would prove indispensable to the development of the airplane. Quite simply, while we may never know if anyone flew before the Wrights, there is no doubt that they contributed significantly to the history of aviation.
History of Wright Brothers’ Day
On September 24, 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared the anniversary of the Wright Flyer’s maiden flight in 1903 to be a codified holiday (it is a commemorative day on government calendars, but is not technically a government holiday). It has been observed annually ever since then, both in honor of the pioneering experiments of the Wrights as well as to focus on the history of aviation technologies.
How to celebrate Wright Brothers’ Day
Every year, the US president makes an annual proclamation, inviting Americans to observe Wright Brothers Day with activities and ceremonies. Official observances include the annual Wright Brothers Dinner in Washington D.C., where the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy is awarded, as well as celebrations in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, where the Wright Flyer had its maiden flight, and in Dayton, Ohio, the Wright brothers’ hometown. Other activities include various luncheons in honor of the Wright brothers, school activities focused on aviation, and field trips to aviation museums.
While we may look at photos of the old-fashioned Wright Flyer today, it’s important to remember that it was actually the cutting edge of aviation technology back in 1903. If you want to celebrate Wright Brothers Day, you could go to an aviation museum, go plane spotting at a local airport, or even go take a flight. Many smaller airports around the country offer flight instructions if you’re so inclined to learn. You could also just go for a different sort of flight experience in a small plane than what you’d get in a commercial jet. These days, drones are catching on too. While the Wrights were pioneers in manned flight, learning how to fly a drone can also be a perfect way to get into the cutting edge of aviation.