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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Air travel is far more than getting from point A to point B safely. How much do you know about the million little details that go into flying on airplanes?

By Alia Hoyt

HowStuffWorks explains how physics helps animals get airborne.

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.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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Flight has been a human dream for centuries. It wasn't until the dawn of the 20th century that man was finally able to leave the ground. This gallery highlights some of the milestones in aviation.

By Rick Mayda

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.

By Sarah Dowdey

The first commercial jetliners had square windows. So why did engineers change the design to the rounded windows we know today?

By Sharise Cunningham

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.

By William Harris

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Length, height and wingspan are all popular ways to rank an aircraft, but truly giant planes are often judged by their maximum takeoff weight. Which plane outlifts them all?

By Julia Layton

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.

By Kevin Bonsor

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.

By Kevin Bonsor & Sascha Bos

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.

By Karim Nice

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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.

By William Harris & Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

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.

By Jeff Tyson & Ed Grabianowski

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.

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

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.

By Kevin Bonsor

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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.

By Tom Harris

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

By Karim Nice

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.

By Tom Harris

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.

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

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How do you start a gas turbine engine? What is the mechanism to begin the rotation of the large fan blades?

Airline pilots have an amazing job with huge responsibilities. Learn what it's like to be a pilot and what it takes to make it in this highly competitive profession.

By Joel Freeman

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?

By Josh Clark

Ever sprinted through one of these behemoth airports desperate to make a flight? Here are the world's seven largest airports, not by passenger volume, but by sheer size alone.

By Dylan Ris

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Fear of flying? Here are 13 airports where location, terrain, weather and design limitations make takeoff and landing a challenge for pilots and a nail-biter for passengers.

By Patrick J. Kiger

Writing a legible message on paper requires a steady hand; writing one in the sky requires a steady everything.

By Julia Layton