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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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Should black box data be stored in the cloud?

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.

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.

How can a plane land at the wrong airport?

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.

10 Non-murderous Things Drones Do Every Day

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.

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?

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?

How are airplanes becoming greener?

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.

Graphic Info: Plane Crashes

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?

How the Boeing Dreamliner Works

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?

How the HondaJet Works

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.

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?

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.

What Are Chemtrails and Should You Be Scared of Them?

It's hard to look up in the sky on a clear day and not see a "cloud" trailing from an airplane. They're called contrails, though some refer to them as "chemtrails" and have odd explanations for their existence.

How Private Pilot Licenses Work

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?

What's the world's largest airplane?

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?

Greatest Moments in Flight

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.

End of the 20th Century Flight Timeline

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.

Flight after the Cold War Timeline

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.

How did FusionMan reach a speed of 186 mph in the air?

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.

Flight after the Cold War

Aviation after the Cold War featured both the Challenger accident and the triumph of U.S. air forces in the Gulf War. Read about flight after the Cold War.

Flight at the End of the 20th Century

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.

What went wrong with the MD-80 aircraft?

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?

Where does your unclaimed luggage end up?

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.

How Autopilot Works

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.

What's the Silent Aircraft Initiative

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

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