National Aviation Day celebrates the sometimes surprising and constantly evolving history of the Aerospace & Aviation industry, from famous advances in engineering and design to the latest innovations.
The American holiday was first established in 1939 by US President Franklin D Roosevelt to mark the birthday of Orville Wright, one half of the legendary Wright Brothers. Roosevelt’s announcement was codified, meaning that the sitting US President can proclaim the 19th of August as National Aviation Day every year.
Roosevelt admired the achievements of Orville and Wilbur Wright, who invented, built and flew the world’s first airplane. Orville made the first successful flight for 12 seconds at 120 feet on 17th December 1903. Whilst the Wright brothers were not the first to build and fly an aircraft, they were the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed wing flight possible, as well as enabling the plane to move in any direction.
By 1904 the Wright Brothers had built the Flyer II, achieving heights of 1,300 feet and flying a manned heavier-than-air powered machine in the first complete circle in history, covering 4,080 feet in 90 seconds. The brothers’ most successful flights – Wilbur’s flight on 9th November and Orville’s on 1st December – each exceeded five minutes and covered almost three miles.A year later the Wright Brothers built the Flyer III. The new airplane had improved stability and control, enabling a series of “long flights” ranging from 17-38 minutes and 11 to 24 miles. The Wright brothers had now achieved their goal of creating a flying machine of “practical utility”. More than 100 years since Wilber and Orville Wright kick-started the fundamentals of Aerospace & Aviation, what does the next decade hold?
Aircraft engineers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are currently transforming air transportation to meet the future needs of global Aerospace & Aviation. NASA are improving aerodynamics, reducing the amount of fuel needed to fly an airplane and limiting noise aircraft pollution to minimise harmful emissions and climate change damage. NASA are also working with the Federal Aviation Administration to improve the efficiency of air traffic control.
The air transport industry is predicted to support at least 99.1 million jobs by 2034. Airport manufacturers estimate a steady increase in demand for air transport, climbing to 4.3% per year for the next 20 years.
If the growth of Aerospace & Aviation matches predictions, airlines and aircraft manufacturers will face an unprecedented level of change. Will the Aerospace & Aviation industry be transformed in just 20 years – and if so, how can world leaders in aircraft and airlines anticipate and become a key part of driving these changes?
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