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National Maple Syrup Day / Wright Brothers Day
NATIONAL MAPLE SYRUP DAY
Get the flapjacks ready for National Maple Syrup Day. December 17th calls for orders of pancakes, french toast or biscuits topped off with butter and delicious maple syrup.
It is usually from the xylem sap of sugar maple, red maple or black maple trees that maple syrup is made from although it not limited to those maple species.
These trees, in cold climates, store starch in their trunks and in their roots. In the spring, the starch is then converted to sugar that rises in the sap. The maple trees are then tapped by boring holes into their trunks and the released sap is collected. After the sap is collected, it is processed by heating to evaporate much of the water, leaving the concentrated syrup.
Maple syrup was first collected, processed and used by the indigenous peoples of North America. The practice was then adopted by the European settlers who gradually refined production methods. In the 1970s further refinements in the syrup processing were made with technological improvements.
· A maple syrup production farm is called a sugarbush or a sugarwood.
· Sap is boiled in a sugar house which is also known as a sugar shack, sugar shanty or a cabane à sucre.
Up until the 1930s, the United States led in maple syrup production, now Canada is the world’s largest maple syrup producer.
Vermont is the largest producer of maple syrup in the United States.
WRIGHT BROTHERS DAY
By Presidential Proclamation, December 17th is Wright Brothers Day. Each year, a proclamation invites the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
The US Code directs that Wright Brothers Day commemorates the first successful flights in a heavier than air, mechanically propelled airplane, made by Orville and Wilbur Wright on December 17, 1903, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
From a young age, Orville Wright and his brother, Wilbur, developed a fascination with flight. Inspired by a rubber band propelled helicopter created by the inventor, Alphonse Penaud, the brothers would dedicate their lives to the invention. They first found success manufacturing bicycles including the Van Cleve and St. Clair.
They never lost interest in flight and continued to develop designs. By 1902, the future aviators were making progress with their gliders and nearing a successful mechanical flight. They sold their bicycle business and on December 17, 1903, achieved their goal.
Orville Wright ( August 19, 1871 – January 30, 1948 )
Orville Wright made the first flight for 12 seconds and 120 feet around the site of the Wright Brothers National Memorial, just south of Kitty Hawk on that date. While the Wright Brothers were not the first to build and fly experimental aircraft, they are recognized as the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing flight possible.
Aviation history is full of exciting accomplishments, adventure, and daring heroism. In fact, numerous museums and landmarks around the world will walk you through aviation’s impressive timeline. From the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Ohio to March Field Air Museum in Riverside, California and the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., nearly every state in the U.S. fills the imagination with original and replica planes of the pioneers of flight. Even the early frontier of space flight makes the agenda for aviation enthusiasts! Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center will not disappoint.
Of course, local libraries answer the call with shelves lined with books about every era of aviation. NASA also offers free e-books.
INTERESTING AVIATION FACTS
· The wingspan of the 747 is 120 feet, which is longer than the original Wright Brothers flight.
· Food tastes different under cabin pressure in an airplane.
· In the United States, over 6,000 passengers are flying at any given moment.
· For every hour spent flying, you can lose about two cups of water from your body. If you’re traveling cross-country, keep yourself hydrated.
· The President and Vice President of the United States never fly together—nor do they fly with the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Prince Charles never flies with Prince William. Just in case…