Monday, August 19, 2013

Today is National Aviation Day

Honoring Aviators and Aviation History in the U.S.
August 19 is National Aviation Day

Space Shuttle Columbia 

I think it's probably a pretty safe bet that a lot of people are unaware that today is National Aviation Day in the United States.  It's a day specially designated to celebrate the development of aviation.

August 19 was chosen because it's the birth date of Orville Wright, one of the famous brothers who made that famous first flight in 1903.

It's a perfect time to reflect on the amazing progress that has been made in the 110 years since Orville and his brother Wilbur made the first successful flight in a heavier than air craft.

Historic Wright Brothers Flight
The distance of their flight was measured in hundreds of feet, and the time it
stayed aloft was measured in seconds.  It went largely unnoticed by most of the rest of the world.  Yet, it was the start of something big - very big.

Now, ordinary folks routinely fly across the country and half way round the world.  A lucky few humans escape the bounds of earth and enter orbit, living in space for prolonged periods.  Amazing, isn't it?

Hurricane Hunter Aircraft
Today, I am reflecting on two groups of modern aviators for whom I have a great deal of admiration:  NASA's astronauts, and the men and women of the Hurricane Hunters. For me, both groups are filled with modern aviation heroes.

One thing that readers of this blog may find interesting is the seafaring  connection of the names of NASA's space shuttles.  Every one of them!   It's a fascinating connection for anyone who loves ships and the sea.  You can find out more about that in two articles I wrote, called  Space Shuttle Names, Part I: Columbia and Challenger  and Space Shuttle Names: Part II, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour.  Have a look, and see what you think.  Leave a comment, if you're so inclined.

I know I'll never fly into space, or into the eye of a hurricane.  But I like to think that if my life had taken a different turn, I might today be waiting a call to climb aboard a Gulfstream or Hurcules to help investigate the next developing tropical system.  What an amazing life that must be!

So, to all aviators, but most especially anyone connected with NASA, or the Hurricane Hunters: