Children and adults of all ages can commemorate National Aviation Day Aug. 17 by learning about the history and technology of aerospace at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force during its August Family Day. (U.S. Air Force photo)

AF museum’s Family Day to celebrate 80th National Aviation Day

It’s not hard to imagine what Orville Wright would have loved doing during the next Family Day Aug. 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

He would have tried his hand at flying an indoor drone, learned about aviation history via virtual reality, watched demonstrations of robots and their aerospace abilities and maybe even read books about aviation to preschoolers.

National Aviation Day is Aug. 19 every year, on the anniversary of Wright’s birthday, and is a celebration of all things related to aviation.

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The museum is inviting visitors to learn about the history and technology of aerospace by participating in demonstration stations and hands-on activities.

The schedule will include:

• Bldg. 2 – Flying an indoor drone through an obstacle course

• Bldg. 3 – Civil Air Patrol activities and demonstrations related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics

• Bldg. 4, Space Learning Node – A variety of demos/activities that illustrate the science behind aviation

• Bldg. 4 – Learning about aviation history in virtual reality

• Bldg. 4 – Seeing the Powerstackers and Innovators robotics group demonstrate their aerospace abilities

Other activities range from presentations on how the Air Force uses military drones to briefings on fun facts about the museum’s extensive collection of presidential aircraft and one-of-a-kind collection of experimental aircraft.

“We like to celebrate National Aviation Day every year,” said John Duren, museum education specialist, “to tell people about aviation, present demonstrations and teach the younger generation. Of course, all ages are welcome and are urged to take part in the fun. We want to focus on the whole family.

“We welcome everyone to come out and enjoy the day with us,” he said.

For the younger audience, “Storytime” begins at 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. in the STEM Learning Node, located in the Presidential Gallery. Preschool and primary-grade children are invited to hear aviation-related stories, followed by a hands-on activity.

All activities are free, and no advanced reservations are necessary.

For more information, visit, or call the Education Division at 937-255-4646.

About National Aviation Day

“National Aviation Day is important to Dayton because Dayton, Ohio, is the birthplace of aviation and the home of cutting-edge aviation research and development,” said Alex Heckman, vice president for museum operations, Dayton History.

“The holiday fittingly aligns with Orville Wright’s birthday. Born on Aug. 19, 1871, Orville and his older brother Wilbur envisioned, designed and built the world’s first powered, controlled, piloted, heavier-than-air flying machine,” Heckman added.

Dayton History owns and operates Hawthorn Hill, Orville Wright’s home from 1914 until his death in 1948. Tours of the Oakwood mansion are conducted via shuttle van throughout the year on Wednesdays and Saturdays by advance arrangement by contacting Carillon Historical Park.

The park is home to the John W. Berry Sr. Wright Brothers National Museum. The four-building complex exhibits 175-plus original Wright artifacts – more than appear on display at any other location worldwide, Heckman pointed out.

Foremost among the items featured is the 1905 Wright Flyer III, the world’s first practical airplane and the aircraft Orville Wright considered the most important that he and his brother ever built.

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