For some years I have been afflicted with the belief that flight is possible to man. My disease has increased in severity and I feel that it will soon cost me an increased amount of money, if not my life.Wilbur Wright
One important day that changed the world was the day when a man was able to fly through the air in the style of a bird! Not only was this unprecedented, but it set the stage for a whole host of other ideas and inventions that have contributed to the advancement of technology as well as the adventure into space. The airplane has certainly made the globe a much smaller, more accessible place for humans. And right at the beginning of it all were two brothers from the US state of Ohio, Orville and Wilbur Wright.
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 that time, both in honor of the pioneering experiments of the Wrights as well as to focus on the history and future of aviation technologies.
It is widely accepted among many laypeople and historians that the Wright Brothers were the ones who first invented the airplane. 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 aircraft that was patented in the United States. 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.
While some people may look at photos of the Wright Flyer today and think that it seems to be old-fashioned, it is important to remember that it was actually the cutting edge of aviation technology back in 1903.
Each year, the president of the United States makes an annual proclamation inviting Americans to observe Wright Brothers Day with activities and ceremonies in honor of two rather important people in the history of the world. Official observances for this day include the annual Wright Brothers Dinner in Washington D.C., where the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy is awarded.
In addition, there are planned celebrations in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, where the Wright Flyer had its maiden flight, as well as in Dayton, Ohio, the hometown of the Wright brothers. Other activities include various luncheons in honor of the Wright brothers, school activities focused on aviation, and field trips to aviation museums or airports.
And that is why it’s time to celebrate and enjoy Wright Brothers’ Day!
How to Celebrate Wright Brothers’ Day
Events and happenings all around the USA are organized to pay heed to two brothers on the anniversary of this important day in history. Consider these ideas for celebrating the day on your own or with friends and family:
Learn About or Observe Flying
For those who want to celebrate Wright Brothers Day, a great way to begin would be to go to an aviation museum, go plane spotting at a local airport, or even go take a flight to someplace near or far. Here are some interesting air and space museums in the US that could be visited on this day:
- National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C. Part of the Smithsonian network of museums, this one in the US Capital is free and open to the public (typically Thursdays through Mondays). Family focused and education programs aim to inspire children to learn more about flight and the science behind it.
- National Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio. Located at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, this is the world’s oldest and largest military aviation museum. Hosting more than 300 aircraft and missiles on display, it draws approximately 1 million visitors per year.
- North Carolina Aviation Museum and Hall of Fame, Asheboro, NC. Dedicated to the preservation of history and heritage of the aerial age, this one offers an impressive collection of aircraft as well as military artifacts and civilian memorabilia.
- Aerospace Center for Excellence, Lakeland, Florida. Hosting several places of interest, including the Central Florida Aerospace Academy, the Florida Air Museum, and the Sun n’ Fun Aerospace Expo. This group specifically is working to educate and engage those who are interested in becoming the next generation of professionals in the aerospace industry.
Start Taking Pilot Lessons
Many smaller airports around the country offer flight instructions for those who happen to be so inclined to learn. It’s certainly going to be a different sort of flight experience in a small plane than what would be found in a larger, commercial jet. Whether attending a flight school or studying under a freelance flight instructor, taking lessons for flying a plane can be a thrilling adventure.
Experience Aviation Technology with a Drone
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.