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Going on Vacation - Learn About Planes

While many scientists and researchers had long studied how man could fly, the Wright brothers made the official first flight of a sustainable nature in 1903. From that point, airplanes began to rapidly develop. World War I and II saw the military to utilize the technology for war purposes, causing airplanes to be relegated as a toy or fighting machine for 50 years after the first flight. However, commercial flight was introduced in 1952 when the Boeing 707 commercial jet was developed. Since then, commercial flight has given way to man’s increased travel and has essentially made the world a smaller place. People are now able to see places and people they may not have been able to without flight and families are able to live farther apart, yet remain close. It has also changed the face of war, which is no longer fought on a battle field. The invention of the airplane has significantly changed how people live and how they view the world around them.

How Planes Fly

There are two main components of flight: thrust and lift. Thrust is provided by the propeller or engine and is the forward motion that moves a plane through the air. The lift is provided by the plane’s wings, which are specially shaped with a bulge on the top. This causes the air, when it meets the wing, to go both on top of and underneath it. The bulge in the wing causes the air to go faster on the top than it does on the bottom, creating more pressure underneath the wing and creating lift. While the exact mechanics of flight is often disputed by engineers, thrust and lift are the basics.

Ins & Outs of Airplanes

A plane is comprised of several different parts. In general, there is a cockpit, wings, a tail, engines or propellers, landing gear and oftentimes a body for passenger and cargo planes. The cockpit contains the navigation used by the pilots, as well as the instruments used to control the plane and instruments that gauge the plane’s fuel and system information. The wings, as previously discussed, are specially shaped to support the plane and contain flaps that can be adjusted for take-off, cruising and landing. The tail is comprised of a stabilizer, rudder and elevator. The stabilizer controls the plane’s motion, the rudder changes its motion and the elevator changes the pitch of the plane. The engine or propellers are what give the plane thrust and the landing gear, typically wheels or skis, help the plane to both land and, in some cases, take off.

Associations & Organizations

There are several associations and organizations for pilots and airplane enthusiast to help them stay informed on current information. Most pilot organizations provide informational resources concerning flying planes, as well as benefit resources for current and retired pilots. Airplane enthusiast organizations often provide information on flight clubs, purchasing a private plan and obtaining a private pilot license.

Types of Planes

There are many different types of planes, typically classified by how they operate. From small aircraft to large aircraft, there are hundreds of types and models available for nearly every use. The following planes are some of the most popular and interesting aircraft.

Getting Your Pilot's License

Flying any aircraft, except for an ultralight, requires some type of pilot’s license. Flight lessons are needed to obtain the license, and usually require a total of 40 to 60 hours of flight time and a third class FAA medical certification before someone can fly on their own or with passengers. There is also typically an exam that needs to be passed before obtaining a private pilot’s license. For those looking to start a career as a pilot, more in depth training is needed. First class medical certification is needed from the FAA, and instrument training and multi-engine training is needed. Each of these requires their own certifications and different amounts of logged flight hours in order to be eligible to take the exam. For those looking to work as a private pilot or commercial pilot, an associated bachelor’s degree is also often necessary to get the job. Many of the large flight schools in the country have ties with their local college to provide an all-inclusive education.

Other Plane Related Resources

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