"The exhilaration of flying is too keen, the pleasure too great, for it to be neglected as a sport," Orville Wright said in 1909.
And sports have spectators, and that brings us to today's 10th Atlantic City Airshow.
Welcome, airshow fans - however many of you there are.
This year, for the first time, the airshow is being held on a Friday instead of midweek, raising questions about whether the city can handle the airshow crowds on top of the typical August Friday crowds.
But the change was made to accommodate the schedule of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. The choice was a midweek show without the Thunderbirds, or a Friday show with the elite team. Organizers made the right call. And as Richard Perniciaro, the director of the Center for Regional and Business Research at Atlantic Cape Community College, put it: "It can only be better" than the typical summer Friday crowds. Exactly.
And regarding the open question of how many people are drawn to Atlantic City to watch the show, the actual number doesn't really matter. The only answer that matters is ... lots. Lots and lots of people.
Airshow organizers probably did themselves and the show a minor disservice by suggesting last year that the show drew 800,000 spectators. That's an awfully big number, and it was pretty much just plucked ... well, from the sky. No one took aerial photos and laid them over a grid - the only way to get a truly accurate crowd count. And both Perniciaro and Anthony Marino, a former traffic analyst for the South Jersey Transportation Authority, have questioned the 800,000 figure.
The truth is, there's no point in hyping the attendance figure. The airshow, which is coordinated by the Greater Atlantic City Chamber and supported by dozens of other organizations, is a great event that draws huge numbers of people to the city and whose value to the resort is beyond question.
So enjoy the show, folks - locals and visitors alike. And as some of the most amazing airplanes in the history of aviation fly by - the F-16s, F-15s and F-4s, the KC-135R Stratotanker, the C-17A Globemaster and, of course, the Thunderbirds - stop for a moment and imagine, if only he could see it, what Orville Wright would think.