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Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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National Aviation Day is August 19th: All About Flying


National Aviation Day is August 19th: All About Flying


National Aviation Day was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, on the birthday of Orville Wright, who first piloted the Wright Flyer on December 17, 1903.


Did You Know?

* Most people at the time of the Wright brothers’ first flight attempts on December 17, 1903, thought that the airplane had NO purpose for transportation and was just a dangerous sport.

* The distance covered by the 1903 Wright Flyer was less than the wingspan of today's 747 Jumbo Jet!

The Wright brothers’ first attempt went 120 ft. That’s about 20 people, about 6ft. tall, lined end to end!

* Charles Lindbergh was the first to fly non-stop from New York to Paris. The trip, in 1927, took 33.5 hours.

Amelia Earhart was the first woman aviator to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. The year was 1928.

* Lillian Gatlin, was the first woman to ride as a passenger in an airplane! The year was 1922.

* In 1939, Willa Brown was the first African American woman to earn a commercial pilot’s license.

Did you know that pilots and co-pilots can not eat the same meal while in flight?

Every 37 seconds, an airplane takes off from Chicago O’Hare’s International Airport. That’s about 100 airplanes each hour.

The word used for aviation help, “Mayday”, come from the French “m’aides" meaning “help me.”

Did you know that 1/3 of your taste buds get numb while flying?

Bessie Coleman was an American aviator and the first African American female pilot. She was also the first American to receive an international pilot’s license.

It is said that Gustave Whitehead successful powered an aircraft in Bridgeport, CT, on August 14, 1901. That is two years before the Wright Brothers. Whitehead's craft, called the Condor, did two flights on that date. Reaching 50 Ft., the distance covered        was 1 1/2 miles.

Aerophobia is the fear of flying.

KLM is the world’s oldest airline, started in 1919.

*Someone estimated that if you add up all the miles flown by all the 747 airplanes, it’s the distance from the Earth to the Moon and back over 75,000 times.

Your Turn:

1. Write a diary entry pretending to be Lindbergh, Earhart, Coleman, Orville/Wilbur Wright and tell about a day in your aviation life.

2. Illustrate one of the facts.

3. Have you ever flown in an airplane? Tell about something you remember about your first time in an airplane.  If you haven't flown, would you like to experience flying? Why or why not?



Visit the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum online. Use a search engine and try to find other aviation museums and exhibits near you.

Check out these resources for Aviation Day:

1. The Wright Brothers (A Webquest). 

2. Bessie Coleman( Reader’s Theater Script).

3. Amelia Earhart (Reader’s Theater Script):


Note: Photograph of the Wright Brothers’ plane is from


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