Early Attempts to Fly (03:05)
For centuries, humans, including Leonardo da Vinci, tried to imitate birds in their efforts to fly. Animations show why this didn't work. Next, a balloon filled with heated air was tried. Computer animation shows how this works.
Lighter Than Air (04:37)
In the 18th century, two French brothers demonstrated that a paper balloon filled with hot air (and several animals) could "fly." Count Zeppelin's airship was made lighter than air with hydrogen gas--until the Hindenburg disaster.
Kites, which date back several millennia, were the inspiration for the real possibilities of flight. Sir George Cayley was the first to use a glider to put a human in the air. He identified the four aerodynamic forces of flight.
Fixed-Wing Power (05:14)
German aviator Otto Lilienthal's worked with gliders. The Wright brothers made a stable aircraft. Follow the steps the brothers took to arrive at their final design--with fixed-wing power that made flight possible.
Wright Brothers: First Flight (01:02)
On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers launched their flying machine. The flight lasted 12 seconds and covered 37 meters. History had been made.
Jet Engine: High-Altitude Flight (02:39)
A predecessor to the jet engine is the aeolipile invented in the 1st century AD. In the 20th century, Frank Whittle saw the possibilities in the aeolipile for a jet engine. His theory led to major aircraft design developments.
Engine Thrust (01:43)
Modern scientists were faced with the problem of thrust. In order to power sufficient thrust, the engine needed a great deal of air. The jet engine provided that air, and thus planes could fly as fast as 800 km/hr.
Flight Speed (03:23)
The Airbus A380 is the largest passenger plane in the world. In the future, airplanes will be able to fly anywhere in the world in under 2 hours. These scramjets use speed itself for greater air compression. NASA made a jet that flew at 9.6 MACH.
Credits: Flight: Quirky Science (00:44)
Credits: Flight: Quirky Science
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