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 [graphic] National Register Bulletin Guidelines for Evaluating and Documenting Historic Aviation Properties

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U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service

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With the exception of a few earlier developments, aviation is basically a twentieth-century technology. The Wright brothers flew the world's first airplane in December 1903.


Yet aviation is more than airplanes. It is a technology which broadly defined, includes aircraft and wrecks of aircraft, production and testing facilities, air terminals, and other components that support civil, military, and commercial flying. The airplane gradually became the vehicle of transportation and military revolutions, and aviation has permeated twentieth-century life. Aviation's significance is reflected in many aspects of American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. Under the National Register's areas of significance, aviation has played an important role in the history of agriculture, architecture, archeology, art, commerce, communications, education, engineering, entertainment/ recreation, industry, invention, landscape architecture, military, science, social history, and transportation.

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide guidance in identifying, evaluating, and nominating historic aviation properties to the National Register. Nominations may be prepared by concerned citizens, historians, preservation specialists, archeologists, Indian tribes, Certified Local Governments, State Historic Preservation Officers, and Federal Historic Preservation Officers. National Register Bulletin: How to Complete the National Register Registration Form, provides general guidelines, and How to Complete the National Register Multiple Property Documentation Form is used to nominate groups of related properties. Also applicable are National Register Bulletins: How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation; Researching a Historic Property; and Guidelines for Evaluating and Nominating Properties That Have Achieved Significance within the Last Fifty Years, which is relevant to much of aviation history.


The importance of aviation is not fully reflected by the small number of airplanes listed in the National Register. Historic aviation properties eligible for the National Register may be significant at the local, State, or National level. These properties may be listed individually (for example, as a type of aircraft) or as part of a group (a collection of buildings forming a historic district). In addition to aircraft, aviation wrecks, aviation development and production facilities, air terminals on land and water, military air bases and stations, aids to navigation, administrative, and educational facilities, and missile launch sites and complexes are examples of other aviation properties that may meet the National Register criteria.

This aviation bulletin supplements general publications that contain information useful to anyone nominating a property to the National Register of Historic Places. All publications mentioned in the text are cited in the Recommended Sources section at the back of this bulletin.


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