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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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

The loops, rolls and rocketlike maneuvers these stunt pilots perform are astounding. What's the history behind aerobatics and how do they perform those tricks in the sky?

By Patrick J. Kiger

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.

By Jane McGrath

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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.

By Jane McGrath & John Perritano

Blimps combine the simple buoyancy of a hot air balloon with the technology of an airplane. Learn all about these lighter-than-air vehicles.

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

Hot air balloons are about as simple as flying can get — no engine, no moving parts really, and very little the pilot can do to control the vehicle. Find out what it's like to fly a hot air balloon!

By Tom Harris

Flying in a glider is about as close as you can get to soaring like a bird. Amazingly, these graceful machines manage their maneuvers without an engine. Learn how gliders fly without power.

By Marshall Brain & Brian Adkins

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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.

By Christopher Neiger

Oil tankers carry massive amounts of oil, gasoline and other petroleum products between ports. However, crewmembers must guard against explosions, pirates and more.

By Akweli Parker

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

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?

By Beth Brindle

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Imagine whipping through the sky at thousands of miles per hour. This special type of jet engine can do exactly that.

By Nicholas Gerbis

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

By Chris Opfer

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?

By Nicholas Gerbis

Ready for a fifth mode of transportation? Elon Musk is. He's sketched out a proposal for a nearly supersonic transportation system that could shoot you from San Francisco to Los Angeles faster than you can watch an episode of "Game of Thrones."

By John Perritano

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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?

By William Harris

One of the key pieces of infrastructure that we could really use in the U.S. is a high speed, efficient, and effective train system.

By Derek Markham, Planet Green

In January 2004, the citizens of Milan, Italy, were preparing for a strike that would shut down all public transportation. Since an estimated 28 percent of greater Milan’s 3 million populace relied heavily on public transit, the strike meant gridlock for most of the city.

By Jonathan Atteberry

What is the future of supersonic flight? Learn more about the future of supersonic flight in this article.

By Alexander Davies

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They're the stuff of headlines, often characterized as evil in the sky. But what are drones and how do they get off the ground and fly?

By Nathan Chandler

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.

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

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

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The words aren't arbitrary, so why do pilots and sailors call out 'Mayday!' rather than something else?

By Nathan Chandler

You've heard all about the exploits of Amelia Earhart, but do you know the story of Bessie Coleman, the first Black American woman to receive a pilot's license?

By Tara Yarlagadda