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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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November is Aviation History Month: Freebie

Did you know that people actually thought that the airplane would have no real purpose? WOW...were they wrong! 
On December 17, 1903, less than 10 people showed up to watch Orville and Wilbur Wright make history. In fact most papers(only 3 carried the story in the USA) refused to print the press release of the Wright Brothers' historic flight, believing it was not possible for a human to fly. The December 17, 1903 event had to have been a hoax! 
November is Aviation History Month. A time to celebrate the contributions and achievements of men and women in the history of flight.
Did You Know?
1. 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.
2. The distance covered by the 1903 Wright Flyer was less than the wingspan of today's 747 Jumbo Jet!
3. The Wright brothers’ first attempt went 120 ft. That’s about 20 people, about 6ft. tall, lined end to end!
4. Charles Lindbergh was the first to fly non-stop from New York to Paris. The trip, in 1927, took 33.5 hors.
5. Amelia Earhart was the first woman aviator to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. The year was 1928.
6. Lillian Gatlin, was the first woman to ride as a passenger in an airplane! The year was 1922.
7. In 1939, Willa Brown was the first African American woman to earn a commercial pilot’s license.
8. Did you know that pilots and co-pilots can not eat the same meal while in flight?
9. Every 37 seconds, an airplane takes off from Chicago O’Hare’s International Airport. That’s about 100 airplanes each hour.
10. The word used for aviation help, “Mayday”, comes from the French “m’aides" meaning “help me.
11. Did you know that 1/3 of your taste buds get numb while flying?
12. 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. 
13. 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.
14. Aerophobia is the fear of flying.
15. KLM is the world’s oldest airline, started in 1919.
16. 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.c
17. There is also a National Aviation Day on August 19th. The 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.
18. There are 3 million people in the air at any given time in an airplane!
19. Inventor, artist, scientist, Leonardo da Vinci had sketches for a flying machine called an ornithopter. The year was 1485.
20. George Cayley is called the “Father of Aviation”. He built the first glider in 1799.
Your Turn:
1. Write a diary entry pretending to be Lindbergh, Earhart, Coleman, Orville/Wilbur Wright, etc. and tell about a day in your aviation life.
2. Illustrate one of the factoids. Write a sentence of your own explaining the illustrated fact.
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, why not.
4. If you could meet one of the aviators mentioned above, what would be TWO questions you would ask of the aviator?
6. Write 3 POSITIVE(i.e.: helpful) character traits that a person can have. Write 3 NEGATIVE (i.e.: jealousy)character traits a person can have. What would be 2 positive character traits you would describe for yourself. What would be ONE negative character trait you would describe for yourself. What are 3 character traits that you would give to someone that is an aviator such as Lindbergh, Earhart, Coleman, Orville/Wilbur Wright, etc.? 
7. Discuss syllables and find words with at least THREE syllables in the Did You Know section. Share with students the easiest way to determine the number of syllables in a word, such as hippopotamus, is to place a hand under their chin. Say the word, slowly. Each time the chin drops is a syllable.
Teachers, check out these resources on the History of Flight.
4. Aida de Acosta: Aida de Acosta did something really amazing in 1903. She became the very first woman to fly a powered aircraft all by herself. In fact, Aida, piloted the dirigible six months before the Wright Brothers would make their historic flight. Even more amazing, she kept what she had done a secret for almost thirty
5. Learn about the Tuskegee Airmen with this play. The format is a Ms. Bie Ografee's Talk Show Series where the studio audience asks questions of Charles A. Anderson, one of the Tuskegee Airman. Audience members ask questions of the guest. Included are Did You Know? facts, comprehension questions, a teacher page with extension activities, links and the key.
Gail Hennessey