(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) –The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities encourages Alaskans to celebrate the history and development of aviation in Alaska by observing National Aviation Day on August 19th.
Over 100 years ago, aviators James and Lilly Martin demonstrated the first aircraft flight in Alaska at a Fairbanks ballpark. Hundreds of onlookers gathered to watch Martin fly over Fairbanks at an altitude of 200 feet and speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. Today, there are 8,032 pilots and 9,347 registered aircraft in Alaska.
“The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities proudly recognizes this historic day while emphasizing the importance of aviation in Alaska,” said Deputy Commissioner John Binder. “The aviation heritage of Alaska is rich and exciting. Today it provides a vital link to 82% of the communities in our state not connected to the road system.”
On this day, some schools participate in classroom activities that focus on aviation. There are websites with activities and art contests for kids. Organizations promoting aviation history year-round include the Alaska Aviation Museum in Anchorage and the Pioneer Air Museum in Fairbanks.
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 249 airports, 11 ferries serving 35 communities, 5,619 miles of highway and 720 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to “Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.”