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Favorite Moments in Aviation History as Chosen by You

Favorite Moments in Aviation History as Chosen by You

Spanning over a century, the history of aviation has been filled with countless moments, milestones and memories that inspire us. Some are important firsts (like John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown’s transatlantic flight in 1919) while others are jaw-dropping acts of heroism (like Captain Sully’s Miracle on the Hudson in 2009). From the exciting and newsworthy to the deeply personal, every #avgeek has a favorite aviation moment or event that means something to them.

For this year’s National Aviation Day (Wednesday, August 19, 2020), we wanted to do something a little different. We asked our Instagram followers to help us narrow down a tournament-style bracket of sixteen incredible moments to just one. Over the course of several weeks, these moments went head-to-head in a series of eliminations as our followers voted between two options each round. From inventions like the enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS) and the first auxiliary power unit to notable aviators like Amelia Earhart and Bessie Coleman, one moment came out on top.

Our winner is the Wright brothers’ first successful flight of their powered airplane! It seems fitting that one of modern aviation’s first moments was chosen as the favorite (narrowly beating Chuck Yeager’s 1947 supersonic flight in the final round.) Wilbur and Orville’s flights on December 17, 1903, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, were preceded by years of research, testing and glider experiments – and more than a few failures. The Wright Brothers were not exploring aviation in a vacuum, however. The years surrounding their 1903 flights were filled with inventors around the world attempting to take to the skies and break a few records along the way. In fact, some historians claim the "first-flight" honor does not belong to the Wrights.

Rather than relitigate those claims and stories here, we choose to celebrate the legacy of the Wright brothers and the pioneering spirit they represent to aviators everywhere.

By celebrating aviation’s past we look forward to a brighter future. While many of the moments in our bracket are notable firsts and inventions, they all pushed the limits of aviation and expanded our idea of what aviation could be. Lawrence Sperry’s autopilot, for example, was certainly a technological wonder in 1914, but its importance is seen in the legacy of autopilots and other control systems that followed, making aviation safer and more efficient. In this sense, our favorite moments in aviation history are about more than the moments themselves – they symbolize a legacy of curiosity, invention and barrier-breaking that continues to define aviation today.

Happy National Aviation Day!

Sam Brunner
Customer Marketing Manager

Sam Brunner supports customer marketing for Connected Aero campaigns, including Honeywell Forge and other offerings within the Services & Connectivity portfolio.


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