Filed under: by Blair
This month Wings and Wheels falls next to National Aviation Day. This is a ‘national observation’ established by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to celebrate the development of aviation. Roosevelt was the first President to fly in an airplane while in office, and he chose Orville Wright’s birthday as Aviation Day. Orville was still alive when FDR made the proclamation in 1939, and would live to enjoy sharing nine birthdays with it. 2018 marks 147 years since Orville was born, and we encourage you to join us and celebrate the Wrights and other pioneers of aviation with a trip to the 1940 Air Terminal Museum.
We of course have Wilbur and Orville Wright. Their determination and incremental progress toward powered flight eventually solved the puzzle of balancing the four forces of flight long enough to leave the ground, travel on the shoulders of the air and safely return to their starting point in a heavier-than-air craft. There’s also Joseph-Michel Montgolfier and HIS brother Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier, who inspired many over a century earlier with their development of lighter-than-air craft. Otto Lilienthal can be found between them in time with his progress in unpowered gliders, and after him Gustave Whitehead made such progress bridging the gap between glider and powered flight that controversy exists about who got there first.
Once that threshold was crossed, however, there would be no end of contributors to aviation technology’s advances – many of them lending their names to aircraft companies we are familiar with. Clyde Cessna, William T. Piper, brothers Clarence Gilbert Taylor and Gordon A. Taylor, Walter and Olive Ann Beech, Louis Bleriot, Hugo Junkers, Lloyd Stearman, Glenn Curtiss, and Igor Sikorsky are but a few (and a number of them worked with and for each other).
It isn’t just the hard working designers who inspired us, but also the many who have taken these craft and inspired us to fly higher, farther, faster and more elegantly. Not least of which is Katharine Wright, who managed the family while her brothers were off at Kitty Hawk, helped her brothers with their budding fame and gained fame of her own when she accompanied Orville to France for flying demonstrations in 1909. The third woman to fly in an airplane, Katharine inspired the Baroness Raymonde de Laroche to become the first woman to get her pilot’s license. Many others also flew their way into history, among them of course Amelia Earhart, Howard Hughes, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, Harriett Quimby, Eddie Rickenbacker, Jacqueline Cochran, Nancy Love, Charles Rosendahl, Eugene Ely, Gill Robb Wilson, and the list goes on and on.
It is because of these pioneers and many others that we can experience and enjoy aviation in its many forms today – lighter than air, rotorcraft, glider, powered flight and spaceflight. Thanks to their inspiration many of us have also learned to fly.
We invite you to celebrate aviation with us by spending the day with us at the 1940 Air Terminal Museum. We’ll also celebrate another milestone as the 2018 winner of our annual airplane raffle takes possession of N4631L, the 1966 Cessna 172G we’ve known all year as Raffle Eleven.
Wings and Wheels is from 11 am to 3 pm the third Saturday of each month and has a different theme each month.
Admission is $7 for adults and $3 for children, and includes access to the Museum, static aircraft and vehicle displays, and supervised access to the ramp. Admission is waived for visitors who fly in, or who drive in with a classic car. Lunch is available from a local mobile food vendor.
This month we turn our attention to those who turn their attention to airplanes and airports. If you love planes, we are right there with you! A plane spotter can be anyone from the families who enjoy Hobby’s public viewing areas, to folks who like to jot down tail numbers, to those who improve their own craft photographing these flying craft. Why do you like to look at planes? Maybe you love refining your photography techniques, and hope your shot is picked by a magazine or airline. Maybe you want to see how much of an airline’s fleet you can see, and later compare notes with your fellow spotters. Maybe you just like watching these things take to the air, and share that enjoyment with your family.
HoustonSpotters.Net is a website dedicated to plane spotting in Houston.
HoustonSpotters day is all about plane spotting and photography. Ramp tours of Hobby will be arranged (based on time and availability of airport operations), and groups of people will be taken around the field to spot planes and take photos.
We also like to recognize the hard work our volunteers do all year for our museum, whether helping our monthly fly-ins come together, or staffing the museum the other 290-something days of the year.
Stop by the 1940 Air Terminal Museum at Houston Hobby Airport and let’s see what flys in! We will have a few Ops tours scheduled so that you can see our great airport from a different angle. Be someone out standing in our field!