December 17 will mark the start of a yearlong celebration honoring the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers' first powered flight and the century of aviation milestones that followed. Four organizations have recently signed memoranda of agreement with the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission to become a part of the national "Centennial of Flight: Born of Dreams -- Inspired by Freedom" campaign. As a result of the agreements, the Commission will provide outreach support to the Space Day Foundation, Challenger Center for Space Science Education, Aviation Foundation of America and Chicago Centennial of Flight Commission, and the organizations will promote the national commemoration.
The Space Day Foundation is dedicated to space-related education and to motivating students to acquire math, science and engineering technical skills. The organization's core activity is Space DaySM, the capstone of a massive grassroots educational initiative reaching thousands of teachers and millions of students in the United States, Canada and beyond. In 2003, the Space Day theme, "Space Day 2003SM: Celebrating the Future of Flight," will complement the efforts of the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission by encouraging young people's enthusiasm for flight and innovation. (www.spaceday.com/)
Challenger Center was founded in 1986 by the families of the Challenger Space Shuttle Mission 51-L crew as a living memorial to the spirit of exploration, the same spirit that motivated the crewmembers of Space Shuttle Challenger in their quest to learn. True to their legacy, Challenger Center uses space as a theme to excite, inspire and encourage students in the study of mathematics and science, and the application of technology.
Challenger Center is in the process of developing the "Design Challenges," the main educational component of "Space Day 2003SM: Celebrating the Future of Flight." Students in grades four through eight will be challenged to design and build models of aircraft using the ingenuity and creativity of the Wrights as inspiration. (http://www.challenger.org/)
The Aviation Foundation of America, Inc., in celebration of the centennial of flight, is sponsoring the re-creation of the National Air Tours (originally held every year from 1925 through 1931). Envisioned to include approximately 25 vintage aircraft and other aircraft representative of the progress of aviation, the tour will fly the 1932 route that was planned but never flown. Overall, the tour will fly more than 4,000 miles, visiting more than two dozen cities from Dearborn to Wichita, across the South to Kitty Hawk, Dayton and back to Dearborn. (http://www.nationalairtour.org/)
The Chicago Centennial of Flight Commission (CCFC) was started in 2001 by a group of aviation industry organizations in the Chicago area and Great Lakes region that were interested in promoting aviation awareness through public exhibits. Plans for centennial activities include the "Chicago Centennial of Flight: 100 History Making Aircraft" model exhibit at the Museum of Science & Industry, scheduled from May 23, 2003, through Sept. 28, 2003, as well as events and symposia throughout 2003. In addition to promoting aviation awareness to the general public, the CCFC hopes to promote aviation education for children in grades K-12. (http://www.chicagocentennialofflight.org/)
The U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission was created by Congress to expand national and international interest in the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of powered flight, and will promote activities, such as those being planned by the Space Day Foundation, Challenger Center for Space Science Education, Aviation Foundation of America and Chicago Centennial of Flight Commission, through a national awareness campaign, "Centennial of Flight: Born of Dreams -- Inspired by Freedom." More information about the Centennial of Flight celebration and details about the events being planned may be found online at: www.centennialofflight.gov/.
More information also is available from Christian Markow of the Commission at 804/675-8153.