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.


Studying the perceptions of passengers at 36,000 feet reveals how noise, vibration and pressurized air affect taste.

Sure, flight-simulation video games and drone piloting both involve computer screens and handheld controllers, but do these similarities make gaming a useful training platform for real-life, high-stakes military operations?

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's an unmanned aerial vehicle traveling faster than the speed of sound!

They're the stuff of headlines, often characterized as evil in the sky. But how do unmanned aerial vehicles actually get off the ground and flying?

Going through airport security is the worst part of flying for most people. Now you may be asked to turn your cell phone on in the security line. Why do you have to do that? And does it really keep us safe?

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

Why do we still lock away critical data on a box that can go down with the plane? It may be time to think differently about the black box and its contents.

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.

It happens. And when it does, the consequences can include not only red-faced pilots, but also inconvenienced passengers, endangered planes, damaged airfields and maybe some free peanuts for everyone involved.

Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a ... drone? Turns out, drones are doing all kinds of harmless -- and even heroic -- things all the time. Find out how drones are changing the way we farm, fight fires and make movies.

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?

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?

The airline industry is one of the largest contributors to global carbon emissions, but it's possible to fly and do minimal damage to the environment.

Discovery Channel deliberately crash-landed a Boeing 727 passenger jet in a remote and uninhabited Mexican desert as part of a scientific experiment for a new documentary. Plane crashes terrify people -- but what do the statistics show?

In fall 2011, 240 passengers climbed aboard the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to get up close and personal with the long-awaited, much-discussed aircraft. In 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration grounded U.S.-registered Dreamliners. What happened?

Not your "typical" Honda: This one features fully-adjustable leather seats, power window shades and a private bathroom with a black marble sink -- oh, and don't forget its over-the-wing engines, too.

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?

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.

It's difficult to look up in the sky during a clear day and not see at least one cloudy trail billowing from an airplane. Although they're officially called contrails, some people refer to them as "chemtrails" -- and have interesting explanations for their existence.

Private pilots have the luxury of being able to pick up and go, soaring over the gridlocked streets below. But earning this privilege is no simple matter -- it takes hours of work and thousands of dollars in lessons and practice. How is it done?

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?

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.

The end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st brought a wave of new space missions and increasingly powerful military jets. Learn about the most recent developments in aviation history.

After the end of the Cold War, aviation saw developments like the Space Shuttles and the incredible air power of the United States during the Persian Gulf War. Learn more about the history of flight in the 1980s and 1990s.

What's that up in the sky? Is it a small plane? It might be FusionMan, a guy who built his own set of personal wings. In May 2008, he clocked speeds of 186 mph.