Category: aircraft

National Aviation Day

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National Aviation Day, August 19, celebrates the development of aviation.

“The holiday was established in 1939 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who issued a presidential proclamation which designated the anniversary of Orville Wright’s birthday to be National Aviation Day (Mr. Wright, born in 1871, was still alive when the proclamation was first issued, and would live another nine years). The proclamation was codified (USC 36:I:A:1:118), and it allows the sitting US President to proclaim August 19 as National Aviation Day each year, if desired. Their proclamation may direct all federal buildings and installations to fly the US flag on that day, and may encourage citizens to observe the day with activities that promote interest in aviation.”
Excerpt from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Aviation_Day .

Image retouched from August 1939 Popular Science magazine article on a Los Angeles model airport: https://books.google.com/books?id=yCwDAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA112&hl=ru&pg=PA112#v=onepage&q&f=false .

1939 activities honoring Wilbur and Orville Wright can be seen here: http://www.centennialofflight.net/chrono/1939.htm . None were in southern California, though.

First flight of the XP-38

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Here’s the image and story from http://cecomhistorian.armylive.dodlive.mil/2011/02/11/air-corps-record-set-with-lockheed-plane-1939/ :

“Lockheed XP-38 first flew on January 27, 1939 (the “x” stands for experimental).  The pilot was 1LT Ben Kelsey, who was the co-author of the Circular Proposal X-608 to build the plane.  He suggested relocating the plane to Wright Field in Ohio for further testing.  GEN Hap Arnold approved the plan, which first included a record-breaking attempt from California to New York.  This would challenge the current transcontinental speed record, held at the time by Howard Hughes (7 hours, 26 minutes, 25 seconds). 1LT Kelsey’s cross country flight set a speed record from California to New York with a flying time of 7 hours, 2 minutes, not including stops in Amarillo, TX, and Dayton, OH, to refuel.  But the plane was wrecked on landing – it shorted the runway by a few miles and landed in a nearby golf course.  Regardless, the the Air Corps ordered 13 of the YP-38s in April 1939 for $134,284 each (the “y” designates a prototype).”

This is the beginnings of the plane that became the P-38 of World War II fame. Lockheed was located in Burbank, California, at the north edge of Los Angeles.