Today is National Aviation Day, the date chosen in part because it’s the birthday of Orville Wright, who flew the very first airplane in 1903, with his brother Wilbur Wright.
Astronaut Neil Armstrong carried at piece of wood and some fabric from the Wright brothers’ 1903 flyer to the moon, connecting the first airplane flight to space exploration.
Tom Crouch of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum told Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson that Wilbur and Orville Wright changed the human mind with the invention of the airplane.
“Before that, people did say, if God meant us to fly, he would have given us wings. After it, people thought, ‘wow, if flesh and blood human beings can do that, what else can we do?’”
Crouch says flight changed everything from warfare to sports, medicine, and religion. He predicts that future airplanes will be bigger and less polluting.
- Tom Crouch, senior curator in the Aeronautics Department of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.