August 19 – National Aviation Day

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In 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt declared August 19 as National Aviation Day. The holiday coincides with the birthday of Orville Wright, who was the pilot of the Wright Flyer, and the first person to fly a plane with aircraft controls that allowed him to steer the plane manually. National Aviation Day is a holiday that commemorates the development in aviation and the revolutionary impact flight has had on the world.

While it wasn’t until 1939 that the Wright brothers successfully took flight, flying is a centuries old fascination. In 1000 B.C.E, kites were first invented in China signifying the first documented time in human history the creation of a flying device. 500 years later in 1500, Leonardo da Vinci began drawing and designing flying machines and parachutes. In 1783, humans truly took flight for the first time in France, when the hot-air balloon was created. But it wasn’t until the late 1800s-early 1900s that planes began to take shape as we know them today.

white and red airplane under blue sky during daytime

In 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright developed the first powered and controlled apparatus in a heavier style flying machine. After the Wright brothers’ first flight, the obsession with flight heightened and by 1927 Charles Lindbergh successfully completed the first ever flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Just 3 years later, in 1930, the jet engine was developed. Aviation travel quickly took off and became a mode of transportation for normal, everyday people. Today, airlines are billion-dollar companies that assist in transporting millions of people across the globe daily.

The peak of aircraft technology was developing during the time when asbestos was used in nearly all mechanical parts. Thus, asbestos was used in many aircraft parts and products because of its heat resistant and insulating properties. Maintaining, repairing, and retrofitting aircrafts put mechanics at risk of asbestos exposure. Additionally, aircraft mechanics were often exposed in their work environments around other workers in hangers, airfields, and during military operations.

man holding engines

Many aircraft products contained asbestos, such as: adhesive products, engine parts, brake linings, pads, and shoes, gaskets, control valves, heat blankets, and other insulated and air-conditioned sections of planes. Outside of the aircraft industry, there are many different types of products that contain asbestos.

While asbestos is no longer used in planes today, many modern-day aircraft mechanics may be working with planes that are decades old. Aircraft mechanics who worked on planes created from the 1930s and forward are at risk of asbestos exposure. If you are or a loved one worked as an aircraft mechanic and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, fill out a free case evaluation to see if you are eligible for compensation.