Wright Brothers Day

When is Wright Brothers Day?

Wright Brothers Day is held every December 17th to celebrate the aviation achievements of Orville and Wilbur Wright. This is also the same day in 1903 when the Wright Brothers made aviation history with their famous 12-second flight that would change the world.

History

Orville and Wilbur Wright were brothers who both had aspirations in aircraft. December 17, 1903 proved to be their lucky day. On this date, the brothers launched “Flyer,” a mechanical propeller plane, for a total of 12 seconds. Flyer also managed to stay in flight for about 120 feet. This historic event occurred in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Part of the success of this flight was the Wright brothers’ use of aircraft controllers. While they weren’t the first Americans to test planes, the Wright Brothers are the first to be credited with this type of success in aviation.

The first Wright Brothers Day was established on December 17, 1963. Since then, the United States continues to observe the historic flight that occurred over a century ago. While not regarded as a public holiday, celebrations are held in numerous ways in both government and private sectors.

Celebrations in Flight

Wright Brothers Day encompasses the American pioneering spirit. With this mood in mind, the President of the United States makes a Proclamation every December 17th to commemorate this holiday. It is a speech that not only alludes to the story and success of Orville and Wilbur Wright, but the President also officially proclaims the day to be Wright Brothers Day.

The spirit of Wright Brothers Day is extended to public schools, where teachers prepare special lessons about aviation. Public celebrations also take place in the brothers’ hometown of Dayton, Ohio. A 60-foot national memorial currently stands in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, which is near the area of the famous flight. While the memorial is open to visitors any time of the year, attendance is particularly high on Wright Brothers Day. Other celebrators choose to visit aviation museums, as well as air shows that often take place during the holiday.

Facts and Controversies

While the Wright brothers made significant contributions to aviation, these achievements are often overshadowed by critics who think that Orville and Wilbur Wright get too much credit. They weren’t technically the first to test out aircraft, so stating that they were the “first in flight” often angers critics. However, the Wright brothers were the first to invent and successfully use navigation steering, which paved the way to modern aircraft.

The Wright brothers are often included in National Aviation Day celebrations because of their contributions to modern-day aviation. In fact, National Aviation Day is held every August 19th to coincide with Orville Wright’s birthday. Still, the two holidays are not the same. Some people who celebrate National Aviation Day focus on the Wright brothers, which often adds fuel to controversies. There’s no disputing, however, the fact that the brothers’ contributions to flight navigations changed aviation as we know it today.

By: Kristeen Cherney




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