It's National Aviation Day and NASA Wants You to Celebrate

NASA research pilot Greg Slover spreads his arms like wings at the Langley Research Center to celebrate National Aviation Day.
NASA research pilot Greg Slover spreads his arms like wings at the Langley Research Center to celebrate National Aviation Day. NASA is inviting the public to celebrate National Aviation Day on Aug. 19 with a social media campaign. (Image credit: NASA Langley / David C. Bowman)

Call all fans of flight! According to NASA, it's National Aviation Day today (Aug. 19) and the space agency wants you to celebrate the technological marvel that is flight with a photo social media campaign. 

NASA's logo for National Aviation Day 2015, which occurs on Aug. 19. (Image credit: NASA / Marian C. Werries)

National Aviation Day celebrates the birthday of Orville Wright, who along with his brother Wilbur pioneered the era of powered flight. It was designated a National Day in 1939 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. NASA's ties with aviation date back 100 years to the agency's origins as the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which was founded in 1915. In, fact, the first "A" in "NASA" stands for Aeronautics. NASA's full name is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. [Related: The 10 Most Amazing Flying Machines Ever]

To celebrate that aviation legacy, NASA is urging members of the public to snap photos of themselves with their arms spread wide like the wings of an airplane (it's National Aviation Day, after all) and post them on social media using the hashtags #SpreadYourWings and #NationalAviationDay. You can see NASA's guide to the National Aviation Day celebration here. The space agency plans to pick its favorite photos from the public and post them online at on Thursday, Aug. 20.

"Why is NASA celebrating National Aviation Day? Because we love everything about flight, whether it's through space or Earth's atmosphere," NASA officials wrote in a statement. They also put together a list of NASA's 10 Favorite Ways to Celebrate National Aviation Day as well. 

"We've helped air travel become a safe, reliable form of transportation," NASA officials said. "But we're not finished. We're working to transform aviation into something even better by perfecting new technologies, including those that could lead to shape-shifting wings, electric propulsion and the return of commercial supersonic flight."

NASA newsletter editor Doreen Zudell poses for a #SpreadYourWings photo to celebrate National Aviation Day 2015 at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Ohio. (Image credit: NASA)

NASA engineers are working to develop new aviation technologies at several of the space agency's centers across the country, including the Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, Glenn Research Center in Ohio and Langley Research Center in Virginia, among others. 

"Every U.S. commercial aircraft and every U.S. air traffic control tower has NASA-developed technology on board," NASA officials said. "So, remember -- NASA is with you when you fly!"

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.