National Aviation Day: How flying connects the author to the world

Matt Tantau stands by a plane behind a p

Matt Tantau is the associate vice president for enrollment management and a trained pilot. 

When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.

— Leonardo Da Vinci

Last Friday, Aug. 19, was National Aviation Day. As a child, like so many of us, watching planes brought exhilaration and amazement to my face. Flying isn’t for everyone, but for me it is a passionate hobby that brings joy and learning to me daily.

National Aviation Day was proclaimed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1939 to celebrate the development of aviation in the United States; it falls on Orville Wright’s birthday. From the shores of North Carolina where Wilbur and Orville Wright took their first flight to Elon Musk’s Space X that took Captain Kirk to the edge of Earth, aviation connects people around the world and beyond.

Earning my pilot’s license in 2010 was the most challenging and rewarding accomplishments of my life. As I have told many friends, the amount of information, practical skills and high-stakes testing was far more difficult than any degree I have earned. But the outcome was exposure to the world of aviation, a connection to a new community and life-long lessons and experiences that will forever live with me.

I don’t expect everyone who reads this to become a pilot, but I do hope it motivates others to try something new, challenge yourself and enrich your life more fully by finding a new hobby!

If aviation is of interest to you, we are fortunate to have an active aviation community in Flagstaff. This Saturday is the annual Thunder Over Flagstaff Aviation Day at the Flagstaff Pulliam Airport. It a great event with lots to see and do! If you haven’t been, I encourage you to attend.

NAU Communications