November 6, 2023
On December 17, 1903, fewer than 10 people showed up to watch Orville and Wilbur Wright make their historic first flight. Few thought it possible and even if they did manage the feat, most people thought flight was nothing more than a dangerous pastime and had no purpose for transportation.
To give you an idea of the rapid development of flight technology, it is important to remember that from the first time the Wright Brothers Flyer lifted off to the first lunar landing in 1969 is a span of 66 years — less than a single lifetime. And even since the lunar landing, there have been countless aviation milestones reached.
We spotlight these achievements during National Aviation History month, a time dedicated to exploring, recognizing and celebrating America’s great contributions and achievements in the development of aviation. Aviation history refers to the history and development of mechanical flight — from the earliest attempts in kites and gliders to powered heavier-than-air, supersonic and space flights.
As a retail shareholder, the opportunities to invest in aviation are nearly limitless. Individual investors can choose to buy stock in aviation companies, airlines, travel companies, defense contractors and other sectors to tap into a fondness for flight. The three main pillars of the aviation industry are: commercial, general, and military aviation. Commercial aviation includes the well known airlines. General aviation counts companies that make planes for private use. And military aviation makes aircraft and weapons systems for military use.
Let’s take a look at a few publicly traded aviation companies:
A few popular publicly traded aircraft manufacturers include Boeing (Tii:BA), Bombardier (Tii:BDRBF), Embraer (Tii:ERJ), Airbus (Tii:EADSF), Textron (Tii:TXT), General Dynamics (Tii:GD) and Dassault Aviation (Tii:DUAVF).
Lockheed Martin (Tii:LMT), Raytheon Technologies (Tii:RTX), Boeing, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman (Tii:NOC) are the top 5 aerospace and defense companies in the U.S. and all are involved in aviation in some way. Lockheed Martin is the largest in that group and its product portfolio includes military and rotary-wing aircraft, airlift, ground vehicles, missiles and guided weapons, radar systems, sensors, unmanned systems and naval systems.
Retail shareholders have other options as well. Many commercial airlines are publicly traded, such as Delta (Tii:DAL), United (Tii:UAL), American (Tii:AAL), Southwest (Tii:LUV), Alaska (Tii:ALK), Spirit (Tii:SAVE), SkyWest (Tii:SKYW), Jetblue (Tii:JBLU), Frontier (Tii:ULCC) and Allegiant (Tii:ALGT) to name just a few.
The aviation industry is certainly worth celebrating. Commercial aviation drives 5% of U.S. GDP—the equivalent of $1.25 trillion in 2022. Every day, U.S. airlines operate more than 25,000 flights carrying 2.5 million passengers to/from nearly 80 countries and more than 59,000 tons of cargo to/from more than 220 countries, according to Airlines for America.
While the Wright Brothers were first in flight, the dream of manned flight dates back to the ancient world. A true understanding of aerodynamic principles and practical aircraft design didn’t arrive until the work of the English polymath George Cayley, according to the History Channel. In 1799, the man known as the “Father of Aviation” drew up the earliest known plans for an aircraft that used a fixed-wing design with separate mechanisms for lift and thrust. He followed it up with a small model glider in 1804, but his biggest achievement came in 1853, when he built a full-sized glider that successfully took flight near Scarborough, England.
TiiCKER was created for fan-first, brand-first public companies—with exclusive perks served-up weekly to shareholders. Own stock? Connect your brokerage account to view more than 130 perks waiting for you right now!