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Fun Facts for Kids: The Parts of an Airplane

It seems that every time we look to the sky, a tiny speck is slowly creeping across our field of vision. It will move slightly, in an arc, toting hundreds of people from one city to another in some of the fastest transportation vehicles science can offer. A glance to another area of the sky will likely produce another speck…airplanes are everywhere!

Airplanes have captured the imagination of enthusiasts of all ages, as they challenge our most advanced technologies, while inspiring generations of engineers to pursue careers in the field. While the technology associated with airplanes can be complicated, the physics supporting flight are relatively simple! Whether we are discussing the Orville and Wilbur Wright’s 1903 plane to the latest 21st century jumbo jet, the elements of flight remain the same.

To paint a clear picture of why (and how) airplanes fly, we have broken down the basics, and the plane components, so curious minds of all ages can understand the wonders of flight.

The Science of Airplane Flight

In order to get an airplane off of the ground, we need LIFT. The wings, which are also known as “airfoils”, help us to maximize lift, keeping our airplane in the air! However, in order to achieve lift, given the airplane’s massive size, we need THRUST. This is why our airplanes stop at the end of the runway, using its entire length to reach the proper speed!

As we begin to lift off of the ground, our speed has allowed us to get the necessary amount of lift under our wings, and away we go!

But, if you’d like more information about the various scientific elements lifting our airplanes off of the ground, you can find it here:

Airplanes come in all shapes and sizes. Small, single-engine airplanes such as the Cessna often hold 2-4 passengers and are commonly used to train new pilots. Larger plans like the Boeing 787 require several engines to generate the necessary thrust to lift the vehicle off of the ground. The turbine engines help to produce the force required, which is why they are so much louder than other, smaller planes.

The tail rudder, wings, turbine engines and landing gear all play an integral role in airplane flight. But, let’s be honest – isn’t the cockpit what we all want to know about? To learn more about the various parts of an airplane, especially the cockpit, visit these helpful resources:

Fun Airplane Facts

If you love airplanes like we do, you’ll certainly enjoy these fun facts:

Did you know…?

  • The Wright Brothers, who flew the first airplane in Kittyhawk, NC in 1903, owned a printing company before getting into aviation
  • At any given hour, more than 61,000 people are in the air over the United States
  • The first double-decker airplane was built and flown in France in 1949
  • Technology is reaching a point where airplanes can essentially fly themselves!
  • One windshield window for a Boeing 747-400 costs as much as the average luxury car
  • Most passengers airplanes travel between 30,000 and 39,000 feet

Airplanes continue to provide a source of wonder. The more you know about them, the more fun they become! We hope you enjoyed this brief walk through flight and the various parts of an airplane, and hope we see you out on the runway someday!


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