With 82% of the state’s towns and villages inaccessible by road, aviation has played an important role in Alaska. The state’s Department of Transportation is recognizing this with National Aviation Day. KDLG’s Chase Cavanaugh has more.
Tuesday, August 19th is National Aviation Day. Established by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1939, the date corresponds to the birthday of Orville Wright, who, with his brother Wilbur, conducted the first successful powered human flight in 1913. Alaska Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner for Aviation John Binder said his department is observing this day because of aviation’s prominent role as compared to the lower 48.
“Certainly, Alaska has about 6 and a half times per capita the aviation activity from the rest of the nation, so we certainly rely on it a lot more than our fellow states.”
Transportation is running banners about the day at the state’s major international airports as well as their website. The state’s two aviation museums, located in Anchorage and Fairbanks, are also commemorating the occasion. Binder says due to its prominent role, Alaska isn’t content with just an aviation day.
“For the last several years, the governor has signed a proclamation stating September as general aviation appreciation month, so we kind of use this to launch into that effort as well, and we certainly anticipate the same thing happening this year.”
The Alaska Department of Transportation has released two videos about air travel and the state, particularly bush pilots, which can be accessed at Vimeo.