36 U.S. Code § 118 – National Aviation Day
The President may issue each year a proclamation—
(1) designating August 19 as National Aviation Day;
(2) calling on United States Government officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on National Aviation Day; and
(3) inviting the people of the United States to observe National Aviation Day with appropriate exercises to further stimulate interest in aviation in the United States.
National Aviation Day marks the anniversary of Orville Wright’s birth. He piloted history’s first powered flight in 1903. [Courtesy: National Archives]
Franklin Delano Roosevelt made August 19 the official National Aviation Day with a presidential proclamation in 1939. The date honors Orville Wright’s birthday and the year reflects a particularly exciting time in aircraft development.
Orville was still alive when FDR issued the directive, which directed federal buildings and installations to fly the U.S. flag, and in honor of the holiday encouraged citizens to observe the day with activities that promote interest in aviation.
It was the tail end of what has come to be known as the Golden Age of Aviation. Only 36 years had passed since Wright made the first powered flight in a kite-like, heavier-than-air craft, but much had changed. Aviation had grown into a bustling, highly competitive industry marked by innovative developments and widespread experimentation.
Source: U.S. Code; N.A.S.A.; Flying Magazine