National Aviation Day is August 19th and in celebration, the team at J&K Connectors wanted to highlight and honor a few of the pioneers in the aviation space over the last century. Let’s take a look at a few famous “first flights” throughout human history.
No list of aviation pioneers is complete without the first. Orville and his brother, Wilbur, were the first to achieve powered, controlled, and sustained human flight in 1903 at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. While the brothers completed several other flights that same day, it’s not known exactly how long their first flight lasted – the stopwatch wasn’t promptly stopped upon landing. In fact, National Aviation Day was officially designated on August 19th, 1939 by President Franklin Roosevelt in honor of Orville Wright’s birthday.
Chuck Yaeger and the X-1 research plane that broke the sound barrier has continued to inspire the imagination of aviation enthusiasts and American entertainment alike (most recently, the film “Interstellar” referenced Yaeger’s flight in its opening sequence). The historic flight is memorable for many reasons, but most notably was Yaeger’s physical condition: after 6 unsuccessful flights, Yaeger was scheduled to fly in a seventh when he was thrown by a horse and broke two ribs. After receiving medical attention from a non-military doctor, the Air Force pilot was taped up and on October 14th, 1947, Yaeger and the X-1 achieved Mach 1.06 and ground control below were among the first to hear a sonic boom.
The son of a carpenter, the man who would become the first to leave the Earth’s atmosphere and achieve human spaceflight was born in Moscow, USSR, in 1934. His siblings were shipped off to German labor camps until 1945 and Gagarin himself fought as part of a makeshift resistance force and sabotaged German garrisons with his brother, Boris. His humble background impressed Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev, who wanted a farm boy to be the first to visit space rather than the son of a wealthy man. On April 12th, 1961, he successfully orbited the planet. The rest, as they say, is history.
For more aviation news, history, and helpful resources, keep checking the J&K Connectors blog and when you find yourself missing a crucial part or connector, visit our inventory or contact our sales department.
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