A Brief History of Aviation in 7 Videos

Aug 19, 2014 - 4:45pm

Senior Editor, Digital Content


Wright Brothers' first flight.
The Wright Brothers' first flight.

Since August 19 is National Aviation Day let's take a brief tour of aviation’s past, present, and future.

1. First Flight

On December 17, 1903, the Wright Brothers successfully flew their airplane at Kitty Hawk, NC.

Wright Brothers First Flight (1903)

2. Air Travel for the Masses

By the middle of the 20th Century, the public could comfortably fly all over the country.

Airline Travel, 1950s

3. Innovation

In the 1980s and 1990s, under the leadership of Robert Crandall, American Airlines developed such innovations as frequent-flier miles and electronic reservations.

#90SecondsWith Robert Crandall

4. Rise of the Low-Cost Airlines

Low-cost airlines like Southwest and Sir Richard Branson's Virgin America further democratized aviation.

#90SecondsWith Sir Richard Branson

5. Current Challenges

At the U.S. Chamber’s Aviation Summit in April, Ben Baldanza President and CEO of Spirit Airline, talked about the challenges facing airlines today.

Spirit Airlines, Ben Baldanza at Aviation Summit, Wash., DC 4.3.14

6. NextGen

Once in place, the Next Generation Air Traffic Control system (NextGen) will use satellite technology to improve airline safety and reduce delays.

Gate to Gate: NextGen Explained

7. Space Tourism

Following SpaceShipOne successfully winning the X Prize, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo offers the potential of space tourism.

Stunning video: Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo goes supersonic in test flight

Bonus: Aviation Supports Jobs

Through the hard work of pioneers like the Wright Brothers and the innovators of today, aviation helps support 14.9 million travel and tourism jobs in the United States.

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About the Author

About the Author

Sean Hackbarth
Senior Editor, Digital Content

Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.