Transportation

Many of us take public transportation or fly in airplanes on a regular basis, but have you ever wondered how all of these things work? This collection of transportation articles help explain how people get from place to place.

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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

Diesel locomotives are some of the coolest modes of transport out there. Giant machines like these are just full of technological treats. Explore a hybrid-diesel locomotive — from engine to engineer controls.

By Karim Nice & Talon Homer

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

How does a speedometer in an airplane work?

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We may fantasize about soaring through the sky, but humans aren't aerodynamic creatures. Could human flight be possible with personal jet packs?

By Ed Grabianowski

Antique steam shovels can still be found rusting away at old mining sites or painstakingly restored and on display in museums the world over. How much do you know about these mammoth-sized digging tools?

By Akweli Parker

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?

By Marshall Brain, Robert Lamb & Brian Adkins

We humans are mobile. Long before flight, FusionMan or even your average automobile arrived on the scene, trains were transporting us all over civilization. How did we get from horse-drawn carts to high-speed trains?

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

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At first glance, it looks like a high-tech scooter. But people who have tried out the Segway claim that it is much, much more. Find out what's going on inside the Segway and what makes it so unique.

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.

It doesn't seem like twisted rope and wooden gears or levers would be able to produce the force and speed needed to launch heavy loads a great distance.

By Yara Simón

Although the amount of fuel may seem high, when you do the math, it's actually not so bad.

By Talon Homer

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Contrails are those long white clouds that form in the wake of an airplane flying at altitude. What causes these contrails and what are they made of? Learn the answer to this question in this article from HowStuffWorks.

I would like to know how airplanes can fly upside down and do loops. How does the fuel get to the engine if the plane is upside down?

Thomas the Tank Engine is a merchandising phenomenon that includes small wooden train sets, video tapes, books, clothing, an official Web site and tons of fan sites. But wait, what exactly is a "tank engine" anyway?

How do the engines breathe in diesel submarines? Don't internal combustion engines need a lot of oxygen to run? Where would all of this oxygen come from when the sub is underwater?

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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?