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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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

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

Black boxes help investigators determine what happened in an airplane accident. What's inside a black box and how does it record flight data?

By Kevin Bonsor & Nathan Chandler

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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.

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.

You know those loaders used in construction and landscaping that dig up and pick up EVERYTHING? Learn how these incredible machines work!

By Karim Nice

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

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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

You've waited in line, and now it's time to board the roller coaster for the thrill ride of your life. If you're lucky enough to get to pick your seat, which car should you choose for the best ride experience?

How does a speedometer in an airplane work?

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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You see backhoe-loaders on nearly every construction site around town. Learn how these amazing machines work and what they are able to do.

By Marshall Brain & Tom Harris

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

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.

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You see gears in just about anything that has spinning parts -- car engines, transmissions, VCRs... Learn what these gears are doing and get to the bottom of the "gear ratio" concept!

By Marshall Brain

Gears are a fundamental part of just about any mechanical object -- if it has a motor, engine or spring, it probably has gears! But what do they do, exactly, and how do they do it?

By Karim Nice

Ball bearings can be found in a wide variety of machines and gadgets. If you take a look at one of them you may notice how perfectly smooth they feel and appear. How do they get like that? Find out how ball bearings are created in this article.

Right around the fall months you may have heard the phrase 'punkin chunkin.' Have you ever wondered what exactly that is, or how the machines that launch pumpkins work?

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Bearings are the invisible heroes inside many mechanical devices. Learn about all different kinds of bearings, including 5-foot ball bearings that keep buildings on solid footing.

By Karim Nice

Not so long ago, the world's naval forces worked entirely above water. But all that changed with the addition of the submarine to the standard naval arsenal.

By Marshall Brain & Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

Airline pilots have an amazing job with huge responsibilities. Learn what it's like to be a pilot and what it takes to make it in this highly competitive profession.

By Joel Freeman

Since a torpedo cannot have an air-breathing engine like a boat, how is it propelled through the water?

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How do you start a gas turbine engine? What is the mechanism to begin the rotation of the large fan blades?

Afterburners allow a jet plane to take off from a short runway, such as the deck of an aircraft carrier. What, exactly, is an afterburner and how do they work? Learn the answer to this question in this article from HowStuffWorks.