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.


At the end of the first century of flight, we celebrated new records for circling the globe, achieving new altitudes and new exploration of Mars. Read about the flight at the end of the century.

Rising airfare, lost luggage, packed flights and long delays have become hallmarks of air travel. But why were more than 100,000 passengers stranded in cities around the U.S. for three days?

Your luggage gets "mishandled" by an airline and favorite pieces of your wardrobe, souvenirs and toiletries disappear into a black abyss. Or do they? Actually, your wardrobe is hanging out in Scottsboro, Ala., and it has some interesting company.

For some in-flight routines and procedures, autopilots are even better than a pair of human hands. They don't just make flights smoother -- they make them safer and more efficient.

In November 2006, the Silent Aircraft Initiative introduced its answer to aircraft noise and air pollution: a proof-of-concept model called SAX-40.

New York Yankees starting pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor, Tyler Stanger, died when Lidle's Cirrus SR20 hit a building in New York City in 2006.

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.

Move over Orville and Wilbur, there’s a new flying machine in town! And this time it’s made for personal use. Imagine a flying version of the Segway and you’re on the right track . . . Check out the Springtail EFV-4B, not yet available but perhaps just around the corner . . .

It's the largest passenger jet ever built -- so huge that airports have to be redesigned to accommodate it. Find out just how big the A380 is and what this type of craft means for the future of air travel.

When a military aircraft is in trouble, the pilot may have to eject to save his life. Find out how this crucial escape system separates pilot from plane.

According to the Department of Homeland Security 730 million people travel on passenger jets every year. Are these folks safe? Find out how high-tech solutions are being used to make flying as safe as possible.

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

To most people a trip through customs is just another stop in an airport or a country's borders. But customs agencies do much more for their countries' governments. In fact U.S. Customs raises more revenue than any agency except the IRS. Find out why and how they do it.

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.

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.

Black boxes help investigators determine what happened in an airplane accident. What's inside a black box and how does it record flight data?

Inside an airport, luggage moves through an amazing and intricate system. The baggage handling system plays a crucial role in keeping travelers happy. Learn about these high-speed carts and conveyers.

Did you know that airports were once known as "flying fields" because planes took off and landed in large fields? Journey through the hidden world of airports in this article, but without the stress, nail-biting and packages of peanuts.

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.

Higher, farther, faster: NASA's X-43A plane is destined to set new speed records. What sets the X-43A apart from other rocket-powered aircraft is that it is powered by a scramjet engine. Learn all about it.

How does a speedometer in an airplane work?

Flying in a glider is about as close as you can get to soaring like a bird. Amazingly, these graceful machines manage their maneuvers without an engine. Learn how gliders fly without power.

Blimps combine the simple buoyancy of a hot air balloon with the technology of an airplane. Learn all about these lighter-than-air vehicles.

Hot air balloons are about as simple as flying can get -- no engine, no moving parts really, and very little the pilot can do to control the vehicle. Find out what it's like to fly a hot air balloon!

The only passenger plane that flies faster than the speed of sound, and can get from New York to London in less than four hours, is calling it quits. Learn how this amazing plane works.