As stories and legends tell us, people have always wanted to fly, but it's only fairly recently that the dream has been achieved.
The earliest flying machines were kites, invented thousands of years ago in Asia. Although they're tethered to the ground, these lightweight wings have carried weapons, cameras and even people. They're used for sport, ceremonies, messaging and fishing, and they have taught us a lot about the physics of flight.
In the 1480s, Leonardo da Vinci applied his artistic and engineering genius to the problems of flight. He designed an ornithopter that required a passenger/pilot to flap giant wings like a bird, and his helicopter design featured a screw-shaped sail. His machines were never built.
In order for an airplane to fly, engineers had to master the balance and control of four forces: lift, gravity, thrust and drag (the "four forces of flight"). By adjusting these forces, pilots are able to speed up, slow down, lift off and land.
These activities are designed to demystify the forces of flight and examine how they contribute to flying.
The Human Airplanes Game
Plane Wing Simulator Activity
Magnificent Flying Machine