Category Book of Flight


SKYLAB, the first U. S. space station.

was built after the Apollo missions.

It was launched May 14, 1973. I he size of a small house, Skylab measured 118 feet long. Built from part of an empty Saturn V rocket, it had living and work space for three astronauts, solar panels lor power, and telescopes to study the Sun and Earth.

A “laboratory in the sky,” Skylab s main goal was to learn if astronauts could survive in space for long periods. Three crews lived in Skylab from 1973 to 1974 for up to 84 days. Orbiting the Earth every 93 minutes at 17,000 miles an hour, they ate, slept, and worked in zero gravity, or weightlessness. Because muscles weaken without gravity, they exercised daily. Mission Control constantly monitored their bodies. The tests showed the crews remained healthy. In Skylab, thev performed hundreds of experiments and took thousands of photographs ol the Sun and Earth. Skylab was a big success. Later abandoned, it fell from orbit in 1979.


Подпись:Подпись: * V ь. - image211Dinner is Served

Skylab’s crew ate a variety of fresh and frozen foods, heated on this warming tray. Forks, spoons, and knives had magnets to keep them from floating away. Food had plastic covers. The crew ate by a window to enjoy the view.


* 4 Space Spider

Can spiders spin webs in the weightless conditions of space? To find out, Skylab took along spider passengers. This spider named Arabella (left) was confused and could not spin well for two days. Then, she adjusted and spun normal webs.

Pulling Power

In the weightlessness of space, human body fluids drift up to the upper body. Astronaut Owen Garriott tests a machine called the Lower Body Negative Pressure experiment. lt corrects the problem by pulling fluids back down to the legs.


Life on Skylab

Owen Garriott gives fellow astronaut Alan Bean a haircut. A suction hose collects the hair so it won’t float away. At Christmas, Skylab astronauts decorated their space home with a Christmas tree made of food cans.

* Inside Story

A cutaway of Skylab’s orbital workshop reveals its two sections. At top was a laboratory where the crew worked on scientific experiments. Below, the living quarters had a shower, toilet, galley, and eating and sleeping areas.

Подпись: Apollo-Soyuz
Подпись: I I

image214N the 1970s, the United States and the Soviet Union began a new period of cooperation. They even agreed to launch a joint space mission, called the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. In July 19/5, two manned spacecraft took off. One was an American Apollo capsule launched from Florida. The other, a Soyuz capsule, was launched Irom Kazakhstan in the Soviet Union. On July 17, the two capsules met in Earth orbit and successfully docked. They used a specially designed docking module. It lit to the Apollo on one end and to the Soyuz on the other end.

After docking, the two crews met, shook hands, and visited each other’s ships. 1 hey talked and ate together, and also did experiments in astronomy together. The spacecralt remained docked together for two days. Both returned safely to Earth. With this historic meeting, the two countries began to help each other in using space for peaceful purposes.

Подпись: ЛПодпись: 4Подпись:image219"

У "Hello!"

Reaching through the hatch, American astronaut Ihomas Stafford (right) shakes hands with Soviet cosmonaut Aleksey Leonov. Tlie mission symbolized goodwill between the two nations.

A A Toast

Astronauts Thomas Stafford and Donald Slayton celebrate the success of their mission by drinking a toast. The American and Soviet crews exchanged greetings and visited each other’s craft four times before returning home.

< Apollo-Soyuz On Display

Visitors to the National Air and Space Museum can see a replica of the Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft docked with the special docking adapter built for the mission. The display gives a good opportunity to compare U. S. and Soviet spacecraft.

. Enola Gay

BY the summer of 1945, U. S. aircraft had sunk

over 700,000 tons of Japanese warships and destroyed over 12,000 Japanese planes. Yet the і Japanese would not surrender. Meanwhile, the I United States had built the largest bomber of the war, the B-29 Superfortress. It had also secretly developed the atomic bomb.

Подпись:Подпись:Подпись: The B-29 was the only bomber large and strong enough to carry heavy nuclear weaDons.The В-29's power came from four supercharged 2,200-horsepower Wright eng nes.Подпись:image140
image141"In August, U. S. president Harry Truman decided to use the bomb to end the war and continuing loss of American lives. He ordered the flight of the B-29 Enola Gay to carry and drop the atomic bomb on Japan. Called Uittle Bov, the weapon was a 9,/ 00 pound uranium bomb. On August 6, 1945, the bomb was dropped over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. In seconds, the blast smashed the city and killed thousands of people. Yet Japan still did not surrender. Three days later, a 10,000 pound plutonium bomb, called “hat Mari,” was dropped from a second B-29 over Nagasaki. This explosion killed thousands more. On August 15, Japan tlnally agreed to surrender.

History Fact: Lethal Weapon

The blast of the uranium bomb dropped on Hirosh ma was equal to about

20,0 tons of TNT.

Mushroom Cloud

A giant cloud rises from a test explosion of an atomic bomb in the Pacific. Such blasts can generate over 100 million degrees F. of heat. Atomic bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki wreaked terrible destruction and caused Japan’s unconditional surrender.

f Famous B-29

image142The Enola вау comes in for a landing on its base after its historic mission. The Superfortress was donated to the National Air and Space Museum after the war.

Space Suits

Подпись:image220"image221HEN astronauts venture outside their spacecraft to explore or work In space, they must be well protected. Otherwise they would quickly die in the hostile environment of space. A space suit is the astronaut’s protection and life support system. Going outside the spacecraft is called an EVA (extravehicular activity). Wearing a space suit, the astronaut can survive up to 8 hours.

Early space suits were bulky, with up to 15 layers of material, and uncomfortable to move in. Today’s suits have layers ol light, airtight material such as nylon and Tefljgn. ‘1 hey protect against extreme heat or cold and against the destructive impact of tiny particles called micrometeoroids.

The space suit provides oxygen, a waste removal system, and radio communication. Astronauts can also move freely by attaching a chair like jet pack called the MMU (Manned Maneuvering Unit). It is propelled by small gas – jet motors called thrusters. I he astronaut controls them with buttons, much like video game controls.


Early Pilot’s Suit

Flying at altitudes over 10,000 feet, early pilots had to breathe oxygen through face masks to survive in the thin air aloft. Above, pilot Wiley Post developed the first practical pressure suit for making his record high-altitude flight in 1935.

* Hah or Rocket?

Designed in 1960,this early space suit called the "tripod teepee"was not a success. A rigid metal cylinder with holes for the arms and legs, it was bulky and inflexible. The wearer here could hardly move his arms to use tools and could not bend over or sit normally.

Mercury Space Suit

This space suit was worn by Gordon Cooper, one of America’s first astronauts. The suit had an aluminized nylon covering and 13 zippers for a snug rit. The gloves had tiny finger lights to help the astronaut see controls and charts.

Подпись: As an astronaut works in space, the side ol the EMU that faces the sun may heat up to a scorching 290 degrees Fahrenheit while the side facing the dark of space may be as cold as -264 degrees Fahrenheit.image224< EMU

Ihe space su t the shuttle astronauts wear to work in space is the EMU, or Extravehicular Mobi Fry Unit. It provides air, protection from severe heat or cold, arid communication. Adding a jet-powered Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), the astronaut can move around freely outside.

1. TV camera

2. Sun visor

3. Fights to see in dark

4. Microphone for communication

5. Backpack with oxygen

6. Tool tether to keep tools from floating away

7. Procedure check list

8. Harness to hold jetpack in place

9. MMU hand control to fire thrusters for movement

10. Safety tethers

11. Tough outer fabric to protect against tears

12. Aluminum mylar layer for warmth

13. Underwear with water tubing to cool body

14. Coated nylon protective layer

15. Gas-powered thrusters on MMU jetpack


Suiting Up

Подпись: Iimage226Astronaut M. S. Weber adjusts a glove in her pressure suit before getting on the space shuttle. The astronauts wear this suit at critical times such as launch and reentry. In some emergency situations, the astronauts can escape by parachuting out of the hatch.

The Sound Barrier


OWARD the end ol World War II, aircraft entered a new age ol speed. In 1944 and 1945, German pilots flew the first jet-powered lighter in combat, the Alesserschmitt Ale 262. Allied pilots were astonished to spot it zooming over 100 miles an hour laster than any Allied lighter, and with no propellers!

Alter the war, many pilots tried to fly taster th an the speed of sound. On October 14, 1947, American test pilot Chuck Yeager flew an orange bullet-shaped plane with a rocket engine. It was the Bell X-l, designed to break the sound barrier. Carried up by a B-29 mother plane to save fuel, the X-l was dropped in the air. Yeager lired the rocket engine anil pushed the plane to over 700 miles an hour, past Alach 1 —the speed ot sound. The plane bulleted, then blasted through the sound barrier. Once past Alach 1. it was so smooth, said Yeager, “Grandma could be sitting up there sipping lemonade.”

‘Suddenly the Alach needle began to fluctuate…then lipped right off the ocale, I thought / wao oeeuig thi ago! We were flying ouperoonic:

—Chuck Yeager describing flying
through the sound barrier

Bell X-i

Test pilot Chuck Yeager stands beside his rocket-powered Bell X-1, named the Glamorous Glennis for his wife. The plane now hangs in the National Air and Space Museum. Streamlined for speed, it is shaped like a.50 caliber bullet.

Charles “Chuck" Yeager (1923- )

A World War II fighter pilot. Chuck Yeager became an Air Force test pilot after the war. He made history as the first person to break the sound barrier in 1947. At the time, many believed a plane flying through the sound barrier would be ripped apart by the shock wave. Yeager later rose to the rank of brigadier general.

Famous Flight

On October 14,1947, the Bell X-1 accelerates and races toward the sound barrier. Flying at 43,000 feet, pilot Chuck Yeager became the first person to travel faster than sound, at Mach 1.06.



Mach numbers measure the speed of an aircraft in relation to the speed of sound. Mach 1 is the speed of sound, which increases with temperature because sound travels faster in warmer air. At

40,0 feet, Mach I is 657 miles an hour.

► The Sound Barrier

Moving through the air, a plane makes pres­sure waves. When the plane catc hes up with its own pressure waves, they bunch together, building into a shock wave. Passing the speed of sound, the plane flies ahead of its pressure waves, forming a cone-like shock wave.


Frank Whittle (1907-1996)

Frank Whittle was a young British pilot who patented the first turbojet engine in 1931. It used a jet of hot gases instead of propellers. Soon after, German engineer Hans von Ohain invented a similar engine Germany first produced a jet fighter in 1943, the Messerschmitt Me 262. A year later, the British began flying a jet fighter, the Gloster Meteor. Its engines were based on a Whittle design.

f Messerschmitt Me 262

The first jet-propelled fighter used in combat, the German Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe (swallow) was flown during World War II. Four 30 mm cannons made it a fearsome opponent. This

The Space Shuttle

THE space shuttle is the world s only reusable

spacecraft. It was developed after the huge expense of the Apollo missions. Those craft were used only once. 1 he space shuttle can be reused over and over. It consists ol three parts: 1) the orbiter, an airplane-like both’ with three engines, 2) an external tank to fuel the engines at liftoff, and 3) two solid rocket boosters for extra energy at liftoff. The shuttle is launched like a rocket, orbits the Earth like a spacecraft, and lands like a glider.

The first shuttle to fly in space was Columbia. It lifted olf on April 12, 1981, with astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen. “T-iMinus 5…4…3…2… 1 Ignition!” Columbia’s engines roared to life and it blasted into the sky. twelve minutes later it was circling the Earth 200 miles high. The flight lasted 54 hours and made 36 Earth orbits. All systems performed well. The astronauts were thrilled wit h the two-day ride. Alter returning safely to Earth, John Young said, "We are really not that fax’…from going to the stars."

Подпись: 11
Подпись: FUN FACT: FAST RIDEimage227Подпись:A Fast Exit

Подпись:In case of emergency before launch, the crew exit the shuttle in a slidewire basket. Shuttle Endeavour mission specialists practice the exit. As Michael Foale pulls a lever to release the basket, Claude Nicollier and John Grunsfeld watch.






image229N amazingly complex machine, the space shuttle has over 600,000 different parts. Among its most important features is its tile heat shield.

I When the shuttle reenters Earth’s

ft atmosphere, it zooms at 25 times the speed of Ш sound. Air molecules cannot move out of the wav of the craft fast enough. They pile up and squeeze together. This generates heat of over 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Thousands ot silica tiles on the shuttle absorb and throw oil scorching heat.

The shuttle’s launch system has three components. The orbiter’s engines ignite only at liftoff. A huge orange fuel tank feeds them 800 tons of liquid fuel. Two white solid rocket boosters burn solid fuel at lift-off, then fall oil. They parachute into the ocean to be recovered and reused. The orange tank tails olt and burns up in the atmosphere. The shuttle’s engines and boosters deliver an incredible 7 million pounds of thrust to launch the shuttle into orbit.


Heat Damage

Scorch marks and holes on the shuttle Endeavour’s tile covering show the effects of reentering the atmosphere. The heat shield of ceramic silica tiles protects the shuttle by insulating it from the heat. The shield must be repaired after each flight.

► Tile Armor

A closeup (right) shows some of the

34,0 ceramic tiles that make up the ther­mal shield on the shuttle’s top and belly. The tiles are one-half to З А inches thick. Above, a technician replaces damaged tiles on the Columbia, gluing each one by hand.

The Space Shuttle

Fun Fact: Power Up


The shuttle orbiter’s three engines consume 800 tons of fuel in about 10 minutes. They alone generate enough power to light up New York state!




Ready for Launch

The shuttle Atlantis stands assembled for launch outside the Vehicle Assembly Building, or VAB, at Kennedy Space Center. The white shuttle orbiter uses its own engines plus two booster rockets and a disposable fuel tank to propel it into space.



Korea and Vietnam

HE Korean War, from 1950 to 1953, was the first con­flict where jet fighters battled. The United States fought Communist forces in Korea. In the short time since World War II, jets had made propeller lighters obsolete. Faster speeds required pilots to react more quickly. The opposing planes could now close in over 10 miles in 30 seconds. The U. S. F-86 Sabre Jet and the Russian-built MiG-15 were the primary adversaries in Korea. Reaching speeds of nearly 670 miles an hour, the jets clashed in a famous zone known as "MiG Alley.”

From 1961 to 1973, the United States again fought Communist forces, this time in the Vietnam War. U. S. bombers dropped more tons of bombs in ill is war than both sides dropped in World. War II. I lehcopters played a critical role in Vietnam. Powerful helicopter gunships attacked the enemy and transported troops and supplies to the steamy jungle battle grounds. Helicopters also zoomed in to rescue wounded soldiers and downed pilots from behind enemy lines.

Checking It Out

Mechanics in Okinawa check a captured MiG-15 repainted with U. S. Air Force markings in 1953.Test pilots who flew this MiG said that overall, the F-86 was a better plane.


With jets’faster speed, pilots no longer bailed out. This Navy pilot springs from his plane in an ejection seat.

A parachute will open to land him safely on the ground.

image148► ► То the Rescue

The interior of the Sikorsky HH-3E helicopter (right) was a welcome sight to many U. S. fighter pilots in Vietnam.

Armed with heavy guns, the chopper flew in to rescue pilots downed in battle. It flew wounded men to base hospitals.

* Green Giant

Painted in olive green camouflage, the Sikorsky НИ ЗЕ was a large, powerful helicopter affectionately called the "Jolly Green Giant." A beacon of hope for stranded soldiers as well as pilots, it saved many lives in the war.

McDonnell F-t, Phantom II

Flying night reconnaissance, an F-4 Phantom II fighter crosses Vietnam in this painting. Able to race twice the speed of sound, the F-4 was a versatile plane. The first jet to find and destroy targets by radar without ground support, it excelled in dogfights with MiG-21 jets and also served as a bomber.

► Republic F-105D Thunderchief

Laden with bombs, two F-105D Thunderchief fighter-bombers head toward targets. The F-105D could carry over 12,000 pounds ofbombs. lt flew a large number of air strikes in Vietnam. As a fighter, it could deliver an amazing six thousand rounds of cannon fire per minute.

image149WARS over the last decades have greatly changed

and advanced military aircraft. The development of more sophisticated technology in radar, navigation, and weapons systems has produced faster, stronger, and more complex jet fighters and bombers.

Aircraft carriers have also changed. Jets are heavier than propeller aircraft. They require the boost of a catapult, like a giant slingshot, to launch them from the carrier deck. Carriers now have a catapult officer in charge of launching, called a “shooter.”

In a launch, a catapult hurls the plane from a standstill to a speed of 200 miles an hour in the air. Strong arresting cables on deck help the jets land safely. The jets have a tailhook to snag the cables as they kind.

Подпись:Modern carriers, up to 1,100 leet long, are like floating air bases. They may carry’ nearly’ 100 planes. These carrier-based aircraft have been active in conflicts and peacekeeping from Vietnam to the present.

* Aik BASt AT StA

Jet fighters fly m formation over the carrier USS John C. Stenrm, The big ship bristles with aircraft, including F-14 Tomcat and F-18 Hornet fighters,

S 3B Vikings, EA-6B Prowlers, and E -2C Hawkeye AWACS surveillance planes.

▼ Military Jets

An AV-88 Harrier"jump jet" (top) lifts straight up iri a vertical takeoff. Its jet nozzles can be directed to take of*, nover, or land like a helicopter or fly straight ahead. F-18 Hornet fighters (center) line an aircraft carrier deck. Bottom, a Hornet launches from the deck.

Подпись: я В


He Glass Cockpit

THIS is the space shuttle cockpit, located on the flight deck. It is the main control area of the spacecraft. In this picture, the seats have been removed. Two spaces for seats face the orbiter’s front windows. The mission commander sits on the left and the pilot on the right. Either one can control the craft from his seat. Flying the shuttle requires a vast array ol instruments. Over 2,100 different controls line the cockpit. I he new shuttle cockpit has more computer screens, and so it is called the “glass cockpit.”

The flight deck and rest ol the crew cabin are pressurized so the crew do not need space suits once in orbit. They float around in weightlessness, often called "zero G,” inside the cabin, from the flight deck, the crew can control other parts ol the spacecraft. They can open and close the payload, or cargo, bay doors. They can move the shuttle’s big robot arm to grasp and retrieve objects such as communications satellites in space. The shuttle’s movements can be I controlled manually by the crew and also

by Mission Control in Houston.


In Command

image233Подпись: FUN FACT: MOM INSTRUMENTSПодпись: The space shuttle cockpit has more than three times the number of instruments and controls required by the Apollo command modules that traveled to the Moon.Mission commander Dominic LGone sits at the controls of the shuttle Endeavour during a 1999 mission. The pilot’s seat is on his right. The shuttle can also be controlled by a sophisticated autopilot that can react thousands of times faster than a human.

У Control Center

Inside the cockpit of the shuttle Columh a, instrument switches and other controls cover the walls. The complex system can be operated by a single astronaut. Closed circuit TV monitors give the crew live pictures of activities m the ship and outside.


History Fact: Shuttle Fleet


Today, a fleet of four shuttles operates:

Columbio, Discovery, Atlontis, and Endeavour. The shuttle Challenger was destroyed when it blew apart on launch in 1986. killing the crew.



Modern Fighters

TODAYS jet Fighters are among the fastest planes ever built. The F-16 Fighting Falcon, for example, can fly at more than twice the speed of sound. Alodern fighters use “fly by wire” flight. This means physical cables no longer pull on control surfaces su ch as the rudder. Instead, computers send signals along electric wires to motors that move control surfaces.

To increase speed, supersonic fighters today have streamlined bodies with pointed noses and swept-back or arrow-shaped wings. Some have ultra-thin wing edges to reduce drag and cut through air easily at high speeds. To withstand the scorching heat of supersonic speeds, the planes have "skins” of heat-resistant metals such as titanium.

Most fighters intercept and attack other aircraft. They may also attack ground targets. Pilots today locate targets electronically and fire deadly radar-guided or heat-seeking missiles. Modern fighters can cost up to $50 million each! MucJj of the cost is for electronic radar, flight, and navigation systems.


► F-18 Hornet Research Fighter

image152image153image154This F-18 has been modified to test a new feature. Strakes, hinged structures on its nose, open to stabilize the jet as it dives at a steep angle of attack. They give the pilot better handling in an otherwise dangerous maneuver.

Fun Fact: Teamwork



Подпись:A Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk

The first "stealth" plane in combat, the F-117A (above and left) flew in the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Its shape and special paint scatter radar beams to help it fly undetected. Hunting at night, the Nighthawk fires laser-guided missiles.

►Thunderbirds on Display

F-16 Thunderb! rds, the U. S.Air Force demonstration team, roar into a Diamond formation. A pilot’s view (below) shows how close the jets fly. Such maneuvers showcase both the pilots’precision and skill and the capabilities of the F-16.

4 A-10 Thunderbolt II

Sweeping down from the sky, an A-10 Thunderbolt II dives to attack. Designed to support ground troops, it can fly low and slow to destroy targets such as tanks with guns and missiles. The A-10 served in rescue missions during the GulfWar.

Shuttle Orbiter


HE shuttle orbiter, the airplane-like part of the

shuttle, is about the size of a DC-9 jetliner. It has three main sections. The forward fuselage holds the crew cabin, with the llight deck. The mid fuselage houses the payload (cargo) bay and robot arm (Remote Manipulator System). The aft fuselage has the vertical tail, three main engines, and orbital maneuvering engines.

The crew of five to seven sleeps, eats, and cooks in the cabin mid deck below the flight deck. Crew members float about, moving between the decks through two hatches. The galley, or kitchen, contains a large variety ol foods. The astronauts take turns preparing three meals a day for the crew.

The payload bay is not pressurized.

To enter it. the astronauts go into an air lock. There, they change into space suits. Then they can work in the bay or outside the ship.

Flight deck and cockpit Commander’s seat Pilot’s sedt two crew seats Payload bay controls Air lock Crew hatch Toilet Mid deck

Подпись: f INSIDE THE ORBITER this cutaway view of the shuttle Discovery with its payload bay doors open reveals the orbiter's interior. About 120 feet long and 57 feet high, the orbiter has a wingspan of 80 feet. Its biggest area is the payload bay.The crew live in the forward fuselage cabin. Подпись:Avionics bay (onboard electronics)

Forward control thrusters Nose wheel for landing Reinforced carbon carbon (RCC) on orbiter nose Thermal tile shield Payload bay doors Payload bay Camera on RMS RMS fRemote Manipulator System)

Communications satellite, held by RMS Main landing wheels Delta wing

Elevon (combines function of aileron and elevator)

Main engine Aft control thrusters Orbital maneuvering engine Rudder and speed brake Vertical tail stabilizer

image236Fun Fact: Big Load

The payload bay can hold over 60,000 pounds, or 30 tons, of cargo, including space station parts, satellites, telescopes, Spacelab, a portable science laboratory, or other equipment.

Spy in the Sky

FOR years a top secret, the existence of military spy planes made world headlines in 1960 when one was captured. Francis Gary Powers, American pilot of a U-2 reconnaissance jet, was caught spying1 over the Soviet Union and shot down.

The U-2 was designed in the 1950s, during the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union. It was a long-winged, glider-like plane with a panoramic camera. Flying at high altitudes, it took photographs to search for Soviet ballistic missiles.

In the 1960s, another spy plane, the Lockheed SR-~1 Blackbird, was introduced. It could fly even higher and laster than the U-2 and photograph 100,000 square miles. The first stealth plane, it had a flattened shape and dark coating that helped it elude radar.

Today, both planes still fly missions to monitor world hot spots. By giving warning of dangerous conflicts, they help world leaders plan strategies.

Plying High

The Lotkheed U-2 is a hfgh – a titude reconnaissance jet. Its 80-foot wingspan^ives it lift to fly o. e’ 73,00C”eet.’t first flew over the Soviet _"’or n :re 19501s to pHotograph missi e activity.

U-2 Camera

image157"7vs U-2 Нусог В came’ayow г the Museum, took retailed ground pictures of Cuba, ike the one at top center in the ‘960s/ney revealed Soviet missiles, which iec to the Cuban Missile Cr sis.

Подпись: * PILOT'S SEAT A maze of dials and controls surrounds the pilot in the SR-71 cockpit. When the craft rips through the sky at full speed, the windscreen gets so hot pilots cannot touch it long, even with heavy gloves. IL Some pilots use the screen to heat food!
Lockheed SR-71

This high-altitude spy plane flies faster than any other aircraft. It set a speed record of 2,193 miles an hour. Like the U-2, it takes reconnaissance photographs. The plane’s shape and dark color earned it the name "Blackbird."

B-2 Stealth Bomber

One of the most technically advanced of all aircraft, the B-2 Stealth Bomber has a flying wing design and sophisticated computer technology. Its shape and dark coating help it penetrate enemy defenses without detection. First test flown in 1989, it served in the conflict in the Balkans.

image158Global Hawk

This experimental unmanned aircraft was developed by the Air Force. Its mission is to give military commanders a high-altitude, long-endurance system to photograph large geographic areas.

Fun Fact: Speedy Spy Plane

The SR-71 can fly at altitudes of 90,000 feet and as fast as Mach 3.3. It has set several speed records, including a flight between Los Angeles, California and Washington, D. C. in just 64 minutes!


JET power, first used in World War II, transformed the world of flight. With superior thrust, jet engines allowed planes to fly longer distances at higher speeds. In 1952, the First commercial jetliner, the British De I lavilland Comet, began service.

The Comet Hew 490 miles an hour, faster than any other passenger plane. Its 44 passen­gers traveled eight miles up in a comfortable pressurized cabin. Quiet jet engines made the ride smooth and relaxing. Yet in 1954, two Comets exploded in midair. The cause w as high-altitude stress on the plane’s metal body.


Подпись: < AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL In the control tower at an airport, air traffic controllers track aircraft on radar screens. Each symbol on the screen indicates a plane's position in its flight path. Controllers communicate with pilots by radio to safely guide each plane. Подпись: ► INSIDE A JUMBO JET Flight attendants serve a meal to passengers on a Pan Am 747 in the 1970s. The new wide body of this jet allowed seating of 10 passengers in a row, up to 373 passengers in total.Today's 747 measures 231 feet holds 416 passengers and 57,000 gallons of fuel!

The next jet airliners were built with strong, pressure-resistant fuselages. I he American Boeing 707, introduced in 1957, was sale, fast, and comlortcible, with 145 seats. In 1969, Boeing built the lirst jumbo jet—the 747. I Ins became the world’s most successful jetliner. With a wide – body f uselage that can seat over 400, it lowered the cost of tur travel. Today, millions of people around the world have flown in the 747.


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< Boeing 707

Sleek and streamlined, the Boeing /07 was the first II. S.jet transport airliner. It measured 144 feet long, with a wingspan of 130 feet. Flying nearly 600 miles an hour, it cut previous travel time nearly in half.

▼ The President’s Plane

Air force One, a Boeing 747, soars majestically ovei Mount Rushrnore, South Dakota. This plane carries the President of the United States on business around the world. It has a special interior for the President.


The Concorde, developed by the British and French, is the world’s only supersonic jetliner. It first flew in 1969. Able to fly over twice the speed of sound, it could whisk passengers across the Atlantic in three and a half hours. The crash of an Air France Concorde in 2000 resulted in the grounding of all Concordes for safety testing

Подпись: Helicopters
Подпись:image163NLIKE fixed-wing airplanes, helicopters have

whirling rotary wings, called rotors. Helicopters can fly forwards, backwards, sideways, straight up or down, and hover in one spot. The idea of the helicopter is very old. The ancient Chinese had a toy helicopter, called a “flying top.” Early designers, including Sir George Cayley, inventor of the glider, envisioned helicopters. Yet it was not until much later that real helicopters appeared. In 1907, Frenchman Paul Cornu built anti flew a helicopter m the lirst free flight. The double-rotor craft rose five feet olf the ground for 20 seconds.

Spy in the Sky

The f li st practical single-rotor helicopters were invented by Igor Sikorsky in the 1950s. Since then, helicopters have performed many tasks other planes cannot. Because they can take off and land in small spaces and hover, helicopters serve as rescue craft, flying ambulances, lifting vehicles, and traffic observers. Modern helicopters range from small, light craft to heavy military gunships and transports.

Подпись: Vimage166image167"image168Подпись: I


Invented in 1925, the autogiro (top) was a combination of an airplane and a helicopter. It used a propeller to move forward, but a wind-blown rotor for lift. The craft could not hover, but could use its rotor to fly very slowly.

Helicopter Commuter

New York Airways, the "first Helicopter Airline," offered early commuter service in this 15-passenger Vertol 44B helicopter. lt flew day and night between Manhattan La Guardia and Newark Airports. It carried passengers, freight, and mail. The helicopter also flew sightseeing flights.

► Firefighter

A large helicopter calleo an aircrane loads

2,0 gallons of water by a hose from a lake. It will fly to a raging forest fire in California. Crew aboard will use the water to help battle the fire.

Helicopter Rescue Team

A U. S. Coast Guard helicopter hoists rescue swimmer Jason Shepard back aboard after a day of training. Helicopters with trained crew fly in to save people trapped on sinking ships or stranded at sea.