Eighty years ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared August 19th as National Aviation Day. The date was chosen to honor the aviation pioneer himself, Orville Wright, born August 19th, 1871. Since then, it has become a day for celebration in the United States, and a time to honor the development of aviation.
1939 was a busy year in global and aviation history. Records were being set for speed and distance by planes such as the Boeing XB-15 and Lockheed XP-38 . That year, the Yankee Clipper , a Boeing 314 flying boat, inaugurated the world's first regular transatlantic air mail service, followed soon after by Dixie Clipper’s regular transatlantic flights from New York to England. The Guba II , a PBY-2 Catalina flying boat, made the first flight ever across the Indian Ocean.
Just weeks after the first observance was held, Hitler invaded Poland on September 1. Two days later, France and Britain declared war on Germany, beginning World War II. Air travel and aircraft design would quickly evolve, out of necessity.
Here are some of our favorite planes we’ve had the honor of working with that were flying during that period:
Our Douglas DC3 PlaneTag came from one of American Airlines’ celebrated Flagship Fleet passenger planes, Flagship Tulsa. The Tulsa flew from 1939 to 1949, and continued flying for other airlines until 1994. Read more about its history.
The Beechcraft Model 18 was produced from 1937 through 1969 and served corporate, military and the flying public with timeless style. This coffee table was made using an authentic twin tail vertical stabilizer. Read more about the history of the plane and see other incredible pieces of aviation furniture here .
The Douglas A 20 Havoc was initially designed in 1936 as Model 7A, a two-crew attack-bomber. It was flown by the Allies during WW2, including the U.S., Soviet, and British Royal Air Forces. Our PlaneTag is made from S/N 43-22197, a Havoc once owned by record-setting pilot and aviation pioneer Howard Hughes. Read more about it here .
The Curtis P40 Warhawk first flew in 1938, and was used by most of the Allied air forces during WW2. The Warhawk was made famous by the Flying Tigers Squadron’s exploits in the Pacific. You can read more about one that survived Pearl Harbor here.
The Consolidated PBY Catalina first flew in 1935 and later became the most widely used flying boat, and the largest Navy aircraft. It was designed for long-distance flights over water, with a range long enough to fly directly to Hawaii, Alaska, and Panama. Its maritime roles included patrolling, anti-submarine, anti-ship, and search and rescue. MotoArt offers a gorgeous desk made from elevator airframes, as well as a PBY Catalina PlaneTag . Read more about the history of this plane here .
The Stearman Model 75 biplane was used as a military trainer during the 1930s and 40s. This Stearman Wing Conference Table shows off the wooden spruce spars that the plane is so famous for. Read more about it and see other furniture inspired by its design here .
Continental radial engines were commonly used on planes in the 1930s. This Continental Radial Engine Coffee Table was built using a rebuilt radial engine. Read more about the history and other functional art made from 30s era radial engines here .
The first B17 Flying Fortress flew in 1935 and became a widely recognized plane during World War II. While this limited edition B17 Nine O Nine PlaneTag has been sold out, there are plenty of other incredible aircraft models from all eras to check out .
MotoArt has been the pioneer in taking airplanes destined for the scrap heap and turning those salvaged aircraft parts into pieces that function as furniture but look like works of art. Owner Dave Hall has often said that he made the first PlaneTag for airplane enthusiasts like himself, who love everything about aviation and airplanes but may not necessarily have a room or budget for an airplane conference table . PlaneTags let you carry with you or give the gift of a piece of an amazing flying machine. Each one is a limited edition collectible for each plane so don’t let a favorite one slip away like the B-17. Add one to your collection today.