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National Aviation Day in the United States

National Aviation Day is observed in the United States on August 19 each year to celebrate the history and development of the aviation. It coincides with the birthday of Orville Wright who, together with his brother Wilbur, made significant contributions to powered flight.

Is National Aviation Day a Public Holiday?

National Aviation Day is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

National Aviation Day USA
Biplanes, such as the example pictured above, played an important role in aviation history. The Wright brothers used a biplane design to build the Wright Flyer.
Biplanes, such as the example pictured above, played an important role in aviation history. The Wright brothers used a biplane design to build the Wright Flyer.
©iStockphoto.com/Andrea Gingerich

What Do People Do?

On this day, some schools organize for students to participate in classroom activities that focus on the topic of aviation. Activities include: discussing aviation history, including the efforts of the Wright brothers, Amelia Earhart and other aviation pioneers; and engaging in interactive tasks about airplanes and other means of flight transport, as well as careers associated with the aviation industry. Aviation enthusiasts and students may visit museums about aviation history and technology. Some people visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial in North Carolina at this time of the year.

Public Life

National Aviation Day is a federal observance but it is not a public holiday in the United States.

Background

In 1939 President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed August 19 to be National Aviation Day. The day coincides with the birthday of Orville Wright, who piloted the Wright Flyer. He and his brother Wilbur are given credit for building the world’s first successful airplane with aircraft controls that enabled them to steer the plane. Orville Wright made the first flight for 12 seconds and 120 feet around the site of Wright Brothers National Memorial on December 17, 1903. They were not the first to build and fly experimental aircraft but they are the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed wing flight possible. The Wright brothers' status as inventors of the airplane has been an issue of debate, particularly as there were competing claims regarding other early aviators. Another national observation in the United States is Wright Brothers Day on December 17 each year.

Each year the president may issue a proclamation to: designate August 19 as National Aviation Day; call on government officials to display the flag of the United States on all government buildings on the day; and invite people living in the United States to observe the day with appropriate exercises to further stimulate interest in aviation in the United States.

Symbols

Images of early flight pioneers (including the Wright brothers), airplanes and other flight vehicles, aviation industry workers (such as pilots) and any other images linked with the aviation industry have been seen on material used to promote National Aviation Day.

National Aviation Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010ThuAug 19National Aviation DayObservance 
2011FriAug 19National Aviation DayObservance 
2012SunAug 19National Aviation DayObservance 
2013MonAug 19National Aviation DayObservance 
2014TueAug 19National Aviation DayObservance 
2015WedAug 19National Aviation DayObservance 
2016FriAug 19National Aviation DayObservance 
2017SatAug 19National Aviation DayObservance 
2018SunAug 19National Aviation DayObservance 
2019MonAug 19National Aviation DayObservance 
2020WedAug 19National Aviation DayObservance 

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