MedFlight911 Celebrates National Aviation Day
August 19th is National Aviation Day. Established by order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, this holiday is celebrated on the birthday of aviation pioneer Orville Wright. In honor of this year's National Aviation Day, I thought I'd share a few facts about the history of aviation in general and air ambulances in particular.
- The first engine-powered flight occurred in 1852, when Henri Giffard flew his steam-powered airship 17 miles from Paris to Trappes. The trip took three hours!
- In 1903, the Wright Brothers successfully completed the first sustained, controlled, powered manned flight.
- Air ambulances played a role even in the early years of aviation. In 1917, the British military used an air ambulance to evacuate an injured soldier from Turkey. By 1926, the United States Army Air Corps was using a converted airplane to transport patients from Nicaragua to a hospital in Panama – a distance of 150 miles.
- The first civilian air ambulance service – the Royal Flying Doctor Service – was established in Australia in 1928, to provide critical medical care to people living in remote outback areas.
- French aviator Marie Marvingt – who during World War I became the first woman to fly a bomber in combat missions – later became an early advocate of using airplanes for medical evacuation. She helped organize the First International Congress on Medical Aviation in 1929 and in 1934 established the first African air ambulance service, in Morocco. She was also the first person certified as a flight nurse.
- Today, more than 4,000 pilots, 600 physicians, 5,000 nurses, and 5,000 EMTs/paramedics staff both rotor-wing and fixed-wing air ambulance vehicles in the United States. And every year, fixed-wing airplanes transport more than 100,000 patients.
How can you commemorate National Aviation Day? If you're a pilot, the answer is obvious: Fly. But even those who don't have their wings can celebrate. Check with airports and air and space museums in your area to see if they have any special activities planned. Or simple take a moment to think about the way air travel had impacted your life. The video below, for example, highlights how aviation plays a vital role in keeping rural Alaskan communities safe and connected to the outside world. Skip to approximately 5:30 to hear a couple of air ambulance professionals talk about how they serve as rural Alaska's 911 service.
Alaska Aviation Lifeline Story: http://vimeo.com/39894638
Want to learn more about MedFlight911's air ambulance services? Give us a call at 888-359-1911 or get a no-obligation air medical transport quote here.