The Aviator (Charlottesville, Virginia)

The Aviator is a historical sculpture located on the University of Virginia campus near Charlottesville, Albemarle County, Virginia.

The Aviator
ArtistGutzon Borglum
Dimensions4,400 cm × 3,400 cm (144 ft × 112 ft)
LocationCharlottesville, Virginia
OwnerUniversity of Virginia
The Aviator (Charlottesville, Virginia) is located in Virginia
The Aviator (Charlottesville, Virginia)
The Aviator (Charlottesville, Virginia) is located in the United States
The Aviator (Charlottesville, Virginia)
LocationMonument Square, bounded by University and Jefferson Park Aves. and the railroad tracks, Charlottesville, Virginia
Coordinates38°2′18″N 78°30′21″W / 38.03833°N 78.50583°W / 38.03833; -78.50583
Arealess than one acre
Built1919 (1919)
ArchitectBorglum, Gutzon
Architectural styleLate 19th And 20th Century Revivals
NRHP reference No.06000758[1]
VLR No.002-5073
Significant dates
Added to NRHPNovember 9, 2006
Designated VLRJune 8, 2006[2]



The sculpture is a bronze statue commissioned in honor of University alumnus, James Rogers McConnell’s heroism and courage in World War I, as a member of the Lafayette Escadrille.

The Aviator was designed by Gutzon Borglum and dedicated in 1919. The sculpture measures 12 feet high and 8 feet, 6 inches wide.[3]

It is located in front of Clemons Library on the grounds of the University of Virginia. Due to the library's abundant 24-hour study space available for students, The Aviator is a fixture in everyday life at the University.[4]

It is an athletic male nude with his feet placed shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent and arms outstretched supporting a pair of wings.[5] The blade/knife; dirk or possible dagger/stiletto the figure has in his sheath is a recognized symbol of masculinity.[6][7]

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.[1]



  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System – (#06000758)". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. November 2, 2013.
  2. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register - The Aviator". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Archived from the original on 2021-05-11. Retrieved 2021-05-08.
  3. ^ "The Aviator, (sculpture)". Inventory of American Sculpture. Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on 11 October 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  4. ^ "UVA Library". Archived from the original on 2016-04-22. Retrieved 2021-07-17.
  5. ^ Susan Smead and Taryn Harrison (April 2006). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: The Aviator" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-07-05. Retrieved 2021-08-05. and Accompanying photo Archived 2021-07-05 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Ornate Yemeni Knives Mark Status, Masculinity". Archived from the original on 2017-02-27. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  7. ^ Schotten, C. (2009-07-20). Nietzsche's Revolution: Décadence, Politics, and Sexuality. Springer. ISBN 9780230623224. Archived from the original on 2021-08-05. Retrieved 2020-12-04.