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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How does an oxygen canister on an airplane or spacecraft work? The ValueJet crash in 1996 was attributed to oxygen canisters that created a fire. And there was a fire on the MIR space station caused by an oxygen canister. How can a fire CREATE oxygen?

Do commercial jets have locks on the doors and ignition keys? If not, what keeps someone from stealing them?

When flushing the toilet in a passenger airplane, I'm amazed by the huge noise it makes -- like a powerful vacuum cleaner. Can you explain what makes this noise?

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Ever wonder what's happening inside that huge jet engine as you're cruising along at 30,000 feet? Jets, helicopters and even some power plants use a class of engine called gas turbines, which produce their own pressurized gas to spin a turbine and create power.

By Marshall Brain

The marvel we know as the helicopter began as a Chinese top consisting of a shaft -- a stick -- adorned with feathers on one end. They now buzz around the skies providing emergency medical assistance and your daily traffic report. Are you ready to meet the most versatile flying machines in existence today?

By Marshall Brain & William Harris