In this guest post, writer Rida Khan explores the origins and meaning of Aviation Day in a conversation with Pilot Joao Claudio Roedel.
In 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued a presidential proclamation that designated the anniversary of Orville Wright’s birthday (August 19) to be a National Aviation Day to promote and support the aviation industry in the US.
Wright Brothers Orville & Wilbur were two American brothers, inventors & aviation pioneers who are credited with inventing, building, and flying the world’s first successful airplane.
They made the first controlled sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft on Dec 17, 1903, four miles south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
On Aviation Day, all federal buildings and installations fly the US flag and encourage citizens to make this day special by engaging in various activities that help increase people’s interest in aviation.
While traveling, I got a chance to have a talk with airline Pilot Joao Claudio Roedel about the significance of this day.
He told me, “US President Franklin Roosevelt established a day in the year when we all could learn more and celebrate what we have achieved so far in flying and getting closer to what it feels like working in this industry. In our busy lives, we often don’t realize the greatness of discoveries and inventions that make our lives easier, more practical, and more connected to others. One of these wonders is the capability of traveling around the world sitting inside complex machines, with all the comfort of air conditioning and maybe a good cup of coffee.
“Airplanes reinvented our idea of what it means to be able to reach a faraway place or a dear someone. The aviation industry has gone so far that nowadays, we can cross an entire ocean in less than a day. A few years ago, we could even watch the sun rise twice on the same day. I’m talking about the Concorde, a supersonic bird that could fly from Paris to New York in about three hours and a half flight time. Unfortunately, the Concorde no longer flies. However, there are projects in motion right now that could take us flying at two times the speed of sound again.
“As an airline professional, working as a pilot for the past few years, it is always a reason to be proud and happy to celebrate the impact of aviation in our lives. It’s a completely different lifestyle, very demanding as a whole but also rewarding.
“For National Aviation Day, I recommend you go to an aviation history museum, see some big and old flying machines, learn about their history, and check how society has evolved when it comes to flying. Always remember that aviation is the common force and contribution of many nations and dedicated people worldwide who happen to love this magic thing called flying.
“Remember to always be thankful to all the professionals who dedicate their lives to this activity, who maintain high levels of safety and standards so that people can get their homes safe and sound after a quick regional flight, or maybe a long haul from Tokyo till LA.”
Congratulations to all of the personnel involved in the aviation industry and business, and Happy National Aviation Day!