MODERN

Ever wondered how an ejection seat works, or how to ride a hot air balloon? This section explores modern jet mechanics and aircraft operations and components.
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Why do those long, white clouds form behind jets flying high overhead?

Contrails are those long white clouds that form in the wake of an airplane flying at altitude. What causes these contrails and what are they made of? Learn the answer to this question in this article from HowStuffWorks.

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  • 10 Aviation Innovations We'd Be Stuck on the Ground Without

    10 Aviation Innovations We'd Be Stuck on the Ground Without

    In the world of flight, it's a fine line between flying high and falling fast. Can you name 10 of the innovations that keep planes and their passengers airborne? See more »

  • 10 Unsolved Airplane Mysteries

    10 Unsolved Airplane Mysteries

    Since 1948, more than 100 aircraft have gone missing while aloft and never been found. How is this possible? We'll look at some of these unsolved mysteries, as well as other bizarre airline mishaps. See more »

  • Could you commute from New York to Los Angeles in 12 minutes?

    Could you commute from New York to Los Angeles in 12 minutes?

    Would you risk the mother of all jet lag if you could cross the U.S. in less time than it takes to pass through airport security? After all, your time is precious, and haven't supersonic and hypersonic technologies been around for decades now? See more »

  • Do airplanes routinely dump their fuel before landing?

    Do airplanes routinely dump their fuel before landing?

    Why would a pilot ever want to eject an airplane's fuel intentionally? And why would it happen during a flight? Although it sounds alarming, a fuel dump is a safe procedure. See more »

  • How Air Taxis Will Work

    How Air Taxis Will Work

    Air taxis could make a trip to the beach or a visit with friends and relatives go from taking six hours on the highway to a quick, no-hassles plane ride. Find out how the air-taxi system will operate. See more »

  • How Air Traffic Control Works

    How Air Traffic Control Works

    There are about 5,000 planes in U.S. airspace every hour. How do these aircraft keep from colliding with each other? Learn about the intricate system that guides a plane from takeoff to landing. See more »

  • How Airline Crews Work

    How Airline Crews Work

    In an office that cruises a mile or more above the ground, being an airline crew member can be tiring, but rarely boring. Find out how pilots and flight attendants get you from gate to gate. See more »

  • How Airline Freight Works

    How Airline Freight Works

    Like trade ships of old, air-freight planes move anything that can be bought or sold. See how goods are shipped worldwide. See more »

  • How Airlines Work

    How Airlines Work

    How did the guy in the next seat pay less for a ticket than you did? Explore how airlines work, how ticket prices are set and more. See more »

  • How Airplanes Work

    How Airplanes Work

    More than 100 years ago the Wright brothers made their historic first flight in Kitty Hawk, N.C. Even after all these years, their creation still boggles the mind: How can something so heavy take to the air? See more »

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