[graphic] Aviation: From Sand Dunes to Sonic Booms A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary
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[graphic] Title of Property

Historic postcard depicting Orville and Wilbur Wright's first flight at Kitty Hawk, NC, in 1903

Courtesy of Jody Cook

As part of the commemoration of the Centennial of Flight, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places and Regional Offices, in partnership with Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, United States Air Force, U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), proudly invite you to explore Aviation: From Sand Dunes to Sonic Booms. Much of America’s 20th-century history is inextricably linked to aviation. America's rise to preeminence in aviation was accomplished through the astonishing achievements of men and women in both the public and private sectors. The pioneers of America’s aviation industry built the technological and industrial infrastructure that enabled aviation to succeed, while the exploits of daring flying heroes captured the public imagination and encouraged the support of aviation. The Federal government supported the development of military aviation, conducted important aeronautical research, and established, regulated, and encouraged the development of interstate passenger, postal, and freight commerce. In celebration of a century of flight, this travel itinerary highlights more than 100 listings in the National Register of Historic Places--historic aircraft, airfields, research and testing facilities, aeronautical and engineering research laboratories, military installations, battle sites, launch and control facilities--that tell the stories of the significant people and events that made the United States the world’s leader in aviation.

[photo] Howard Hughes returning to Floyd Bennett Field, NY, from his record setting around the world flight in 1938
Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation

The American public had a fascination with aviation throughout the 20th century. Aerial combat in the First World War established heroes such as Lt. Edward Rickenbacker, "Ace of Aces" and winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Golden Age of Aviation between the world wars brought enthusiasm for flying to all parts of the country via air shows, air races, barnstormers, and wing walkers. The exploits of daring pilots, including Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart and Howard Hughes were closely followed as they set speed, distance, and endurance records. Hollywood captured America’s love of the romance of flight in the movies; the first Academy Award for best motion picture was presented to the 1927 film Wings, the story of American Army Signal Corps pilots battling the Germans in the skies over France. America’s entry into World War II was precipitated by a Japanese aerial attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941. The United States responded with the massive mobilization of men and war materiel that eventually destroyed German Nazism and Italian fascism in Europe and the expansionist Japanese empire. The bombers, fighters and transport aircraft produced by American industry contributed substantially to that victory. After the Second World War, developments in aviation were spurred by the tensions of the Cold War and the expanded civilian growth of air travel for pleasure and business. The military focused on high-speed aircraft to maintain air superiority. The Soviet Union’s launching of Sputnik on October 4, 1957, was a pivotal event in the development of the American space program. The United States responded to this challenge with exceptional achievements: manned space flight, lunar landings, exploration of the solar system, and development of the space shuttle program.

Randolph Field, designed as a model airfield, played a an exceptional role in the establishment of the U.S. Air Force

Photo from the National Historic Landmarks collection, courtesy of Jody Cook
Aviation: From Sand Dunes to Sonic Booms offers several ways to discover the places that reflect the history of American aviation. Each highlighted site features a brief description of the place's historic significance, color photographs and public accessibility information. At the bottom of each page the visitor will find a navigation bar containing links to six essays that explain more about the Idea of Flight, the Wright Brothers, Aviation Pioneers, Modern Aviation, Air Power and Space. These essays provide historic background, or "contexts," for the places included in the itinerary. In the Learn More section, you will find links to regional and local web sites that provide visitors with further information regarding cultural events, special activities, and lodging and dining possibilities. The itinerary can be viewed online, or printed out if you plan to visit any of these places in person. Visitors may be interested in Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, located near the places featured in this itinerary.

[Photo] The first launch of the space shuttle at John F. Kennedy Space Center, April 12, 1981
Photo courtesy of NASA

Created through a partnership between the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places and Regional Offices, Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, United States Air Force, U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission and NCSHPO, Aviation: From Sand Dunes to Sonic Booms is the latest example of a new and exciting cooperative project. As part of the Department of the Interior's strategy to promote public awareness of history and encourage tourists to visit historic places throughout the nation, the National Register of Historic Places is cooperating with communities, regions, and Heritage Areas throughout the United States to create online travel itineraries. Using places nominated by State, Federal and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the itineraries help potential visitors plan their next trip by highlighting the amazing diversity of this country's historic places and supplying accessibility information for each featured site. Aviation: From Sand Dunes to Sonic Booms is the 29th National Register travel itinerary successfully created through such partnerships. Additional itineraries will debut online in the future. The National Register of Historic Places hopes you enjoy this virtual travel itinerary of aviation history. If you have any comments or questions, please just click on the provided e-mail address, "comments or questions" located at the bottom of each page.

 [graphic] Idea of Flight Essay  [graphic] Wright Brothers Essay  [graphic] Aviation Pioneers Essay  [graphic] Modern Aviation Essay  [graphic] Air Power Essay [graphic] Space Essay

Aviation Home | List of Sites | Maps| Learn More | Itineraries | NR HomeBegin Tour
Essays: Idea of Flight | Wright Brothers | Aviation Pioneers| Modern Aviation| | Air Power | Space |

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