The History of Flight: Electronic Resources
This is a collection of electronic resources (websites, software, etc.) covering the history of flight. A separate collection of Print Resources is also available.
Key: E = Elementary (K-5), I = Intermediate (6-8), HS = High School (9-12), C = College, G = General Public
- The Wonder of Flight from Boeing. (E, I, HS, C, G)
- URL: http://www.boeing.com/companyoffices/aboutus/wonder_of_flight/index.html
- K-8 Aeronautics Internet Textbook from National Business Aviation Association. (E, I)
- URL: http://wings.avkids.com/
- Flights of Inspiration from Franklin Institute Science Museum. (E, I, HS)
- URL: http://www.fi.edu/flights/
- Re-Living the Wright Way from U. S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (E, I, HS, C, G)
- URL: http://wright.nasa.gov/
- The Wright Brothers: The Invention of the Aerial Age from U. S. National Air and Space Museum. (E, I, HS, C, G)
- URL: http://www.nasm.si.edu/wrightbrothers/
- Black Wings: African American Pioneer Aviators. (E, I, G)
- URL: http://www.nasm.si.edu/interact/blackwings/
- Flight-History.com. from Ghosts of Aviation, Inc. (I, HS, C, G)
- URL: http://www.flight-history.com/
- AeroFiles!. from Aerofiles. (I, HS, C, G)
- Welcome to the Internet's most comprehensive, non-commercial,
free-access site dedicated solely to the presentation and
preservation of the history of American aircraft and aviation.
Categories on this web site include: Features Page, Aircraft,
Powerplants, The Military, Chronology, Civil Registrations 1927-1946,
Approved Type Certificates, Air Lines, Air Museums, Films and TV,
Aeroforum, Organizations, and External Links.
- Aeronautics: An Educator's Guide with Activities in Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education. from Utah State University. (E, I, HS)
- Part of the Teacher Link web site (http://teacherlink.ed.usu.edu/),
this educator guide explains basic aeronautical concepts, provides a
background in the history of aviation, and sets them within the
context of the flight environment (atmosphere, airports, and
- Learning to Fly: The Wright Brothers' Adventure. (E, I, HS)
- This NASA educator guide has excellent background information
about Wilbur and Orville Wright. The guide contains student
activity pages and templates for building the 1900, 1901, and
1902 Gliders and the 1903 Flyer.
- Aeronautics Learning Laboratory for Science, Technology, and Research (ALLSTAR) Network. from Florida International University. (I, HS, C)
- Covers history, principles and careers in aeronautics and aviation
education at three reading levels. A teacher's section includes
program objectives, expected outcomes, and national science
standards. Admin/Tools includes FAQs on research, principles of
flight, web access, history of aviation, and careers.
- AIAA Evolution of Flight. from American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. (I, HS, C, G)
- In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of flight, AIAA launched
the Evolution of Flight, a campaign to recognize the passionate men
and women who have challenged history and defined aerospace
achievement -- who are shaping the future while improving life on
Earth. Through the campaign, AIAA and its partners, will celebrate
the legacy of flight, encourage new talent, and lay the groundwork
for the next 100 years of innovation in aviation and space
technology. We hope you will use this site to celebrate the
centennial of flight as well as learn about the men and women who
made it possible.
- History of Flight. (I, HS, C, G)
- Includes a timeline for the history of flight, history of
flight from around the world, pioneer profiles, and a history
of helicopter flight.
- AIAA Wright Flyer Project. from American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. (I, HS, C, G)
- "Honoring the Wright Brothers by researching, building, and
flying a modern representation of the 1903 Wright Flyer." One of
the most exhilarating experiences in human history occurred on
December 17, 1903 -- a man first flew in a powered, controllable
airplane. The Los Angeles Section of the American Institute of
Aeronautics and Astronautics has taken the challenge to repeat that
event. We have built a precise replica for the purpose of acquiring
thorough full scale aerodynamic data from tests in the NASA Ames
Research Center 80 x 120 foot wind tunnel at Moffet Field, Mt. View,
CA,. The data will make practical a more stable near-replica which
can be flown with confidence and can thereby recreate the thrilling
sight of man's first powered, controlled flight.
- AvKids.com. from National Business Aviation Association. (E)
- AvKids is a program designed to educate elementary school students
about the benefits of business aviation to the community and the
career opportunities available to them in the business aviation
industry. AvKids can help transform a child's flights of fancy into a
fun educational experience that may lead to a rewarding career path.
Teachers can receive free materials about the Wright Brothers and the
science of flight to celebrate the Centennial of Flight. Many of
these materials, including the AvKids Activity Guide, have been
created by teachers and conform with the National Standards of
- Beginner's Guide to Aerodynamics. from U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (E, I, HS)
- At this Web site you can study aerodynamics at your own pace and to
your own level of interest. Some of the topics included are: Newton's
basic equations of motion; the motion of a free falling object, that
neglects the effects of aerodynamics; the terminal velocity of a
falling object subject to both weight and air resistance; the three
forces (lift, drag, and weight) that act on a glider; and finally,
the four forces that act on a powered airplane. Because aerodynamics
involves both the motion of the object and the reaction of the air,
there are several pages devoted to basic gas properties and how those
properties change through the atmosphere. This site was prepared at
NASA Glenn by the
Learning Technologies Project (LTP) (http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/)
to provide background information on basic aerodynamics as teaching aids
for math and science teachers.
- Celebrating the Centennial of Flight. from U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (E, HS, C, G)
- In 2003, America will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Wright
Brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk with a fully controlled, powered
aircraft. The Centennial of Flight Commission is overseeing and
coordinating the national celebrations, which are collectively
entitled, "Centennial of Flight: Born of Dreams -- Inspired by
Freedom." The NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH, will
celebrate the centennial of flight by showcasing the Center's
contributions to powered flight from the past, in the present, and
into the future.
- Chasing the Sun: The History of Commercial Aviation Seen Through the Eyes of its Innovators. from PBS. (I, HS, C, G)
- Take a nonstop tour of aviation history. Learn about important planes
and the innovators who created them, or check out a timeline.
- Countdown to Kitty Hawk. from Experimental Aviation Association. (I, HS, C, G)
- Centennial Information
EAA's Countdown to Kitty Hawk is a centennial celebration of the Wright brothers' first powered flight -- an innovation that forever changed our world. Led by EAA, presented by Ford Motor Company, and supported by Microsoft Flight Simulator and Eclipse Aviation, this yearlong series of inspirational events honors the innovation and determination it takes to make world-changing dreams a reality. Countdown to Kitty Hawk features an interactive touring pavilion and the world's most-accurate 1903 Wright brother's first flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C., on December 17, 2003 -- exactly 100 years later.
- Experimental Aviation Association. (I, HS, C, G)
- EAA, the Experimental Aircraft Association, is a growing and diverse
organization of members with a wide range of aviation interests and
backgrounds. EAA was founded in 1953 by a group of individuals in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who were interested in building their own
airplanes. Through the decades, the organization expanded its mission
to include antiques, classics, warbirds, aerobatic aircraft,
ultralights, helicopters and contemporary manufactured aircraft. This
site contains an extensive set of web links to aviation education and
to other aviation web sites.
- Federal Aviation Administration – Aviation and Space Education Outreach Program: Educator's Corner. from U. S. Federal Aviation Administration. (E, I, HS)
- Contains activities for kids, including a Orville and Wilbur
curriculum guide and coloring book; curriculum guides for teachers;
plus “The Wright Stuff: Celebrating the Centennial of
- First Flight Society. (I, HS, C, G)
- In 1926, a group of forward-thinking North Carolina Outer Bankers
began an effort to preserve the original site of the Wright brothers'
flights of December 17, 1903. The group organized formally in 1927 as
the Kill Devil Hills Memorial Association and set about their task of
acquiring the sandy stretch of dunes where the Wrights made four
historic flights on that day. In 1928, the Kill Devil Hills Memorial
Association initiated the construction of the now-famous landmark
monument. In 1966, the Kill Devil Hills Memorial Association was
rekindled as the newly incorporated First Flight Society. A keystone
of the Society's work today is the close support it offers the Park
Service at the Wright Brothers National Memorial.
- First Flight Shrine. (I, HS, C, G)
- The Shrine honors those individuals and groups that have
achieved significant "firsts" in aviation's
- Flight Gallery, Science Museum in London. from Science Museum, London. (E, I, HS, G)
- Amy Johnson's Gypsy Moth, Edward Purkis Frost's 1902 'ornithopter'
(a flapping-wing machine made of willow, silk and feathers), and the
world's first successful jet aircraft are all on display in the
Science Museum's flight gallery. This web site includes online
exhibit of aircraft, aero engines, a history of light, people,
gallery floor plan, and views of the gallery at the Science Museum.
- Flight-History.com. from Ghosts of Aviation, Inc. (I, HS, C, G)
- Flight-History is dedicated to developing an extensive on-line
archive of aviation history. The photo and story archives are not
exclusive to any one country or type of aircraft. We are committed to
providing tools for aviation enthusiasts to contribute to the site.
The archives focus on the pre-jet era for now. In time we will extend
the archive to the jet era and space. This site also contains an
extensive list of links to aviation museums. Flight-History is a
division of Ghosts of Aviation Inc., which is located in Calgary, AB,
- Flights of Inspiration. from Franklin Institute Science Museum. (E, I, HS)
- Find out about the Wright brothers, the pioneers of powered flight,
and John Alcock & Arthur Whitten Brown, who made the first
non-stop transatlantic flight. Created by the Franklin Institute
Science Museum and the Science Museum, London in affiliation with the
Science Learning Network, a program of Unisys and leading science
- Historic Wings: The Online Magazine of Aviation for Pilots and Aviators. from Thomas Van Hare. (I, HS, C, G)
- Historic Wings is an online aviation magazine featuring stories from
the past and present. Includes photos and features on a variety of
topics. HW is a production of Thomas Van Hare and features a full
range of articles and our ever-popular veterans and aircraft flight
- Inventing Flight Dayton 2003. from Dayton Daily News. (I, HS, C, G)
- Founded in 1989, Inventing Flight: Dayton 2003 is charged with
promoting aviation, the Wright Brothers, and especially Dayton,
Ohio's role in the birth and future of flight. The Wright Brothers'
example reminds us that genius is not predestined, and that
conventional roads don't lead to new worlds. Inventing Flight: Dayton
2003 will celebrate expanding the boundaries of human experience via
new discoveries with a yearlong tribute to the amazing determination
and ingenuity of these two pioneers. Includes an excellent set of
- K-8 Aeronautics Internet Textbook. from National Business Aviation Association. (E, I)
- Includes principles of aeronautics, lesson plans, curriculum bridges,
and activities. This textbook is written for beginner, intermediate,
and advanced reading levels. A Spanish version is also available.
Includes guides for teachers as well as scientists and engineers who
have been asked to visit the classroom.
- Let's Fly! Boeing's Kids Page. from Boeing. (E)
- Printout coloring pages, mazes, word games, cutouts, and connect the
dots about airplanes, helicopters, and space vehicles.
- Museum of Aviation. (E, I, HS, C, G)
- Located in Middle Georgia, the Robins Air Force Base Museum of
Aviation is the second largest museum of the United States Air Force.
Take a virtual tour, view images from the aircraft collection, or
check out educational activities and resources.
- Museum of Flight in Seattle. from Museum of Flight. (I, HS, C, G)
- The Museum of Flight's collection of aerospace artifacts is the
largest and most comprehensive in the western United States, holding
true to the Museum's mission to "acquire, preserve, and exhibit
historically significant air and space artifacts which provide a
foundation for scholarly research and lifelong learning programs that
inspire an interest in and understanding of science, technology, and
- National Aviation Hall of Fame. from National Aviation Hall of Fame. (E, I, HS, C, G)
- The National Aviation Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization
founded in 1962 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1964 to honor
America's air and space pioneers. Contains biographical information
covering the Early Years, WWI, Golden Age, WWII, Jet Age, and Space
Age. The education resources section focusing on how "Black
Americans Helped Conquer the Skies" includes web links and lists
of books for more information.
- Photographs Taken by the Wright Brothers of Aviation Experiments, Home, and Family. from Library of Congress. (E, I, HS, C, G)
- Contains 303 images of prints from glass plates negatives. This site
also includes background information and related collections and
- Re-Living the Wright Way. from U. S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (E, I, HS, C, G)
- This web site details the invention of powered flight by Orville and
Wilbur Wright. The resource is developed and maintained by NASA to
commemorate the 100th anniversary of flight, and features a wealth of
historic photographs and details. Includes an excellent collection of
web links to lesson plans, simulations, presentations, and activities
about the Wright Brothers. This site also includes biographical
materials and an index of aerodynamics pages.
- San Diego Aerospace Museum. from San Diego Aerospace Museum. (E, I, HS, C, G)
- The mission of the San Diego Aerospace Museum, a non-profit
institution, is to provide for the public an educational, scientific
and cultural institution devoted to the history of aviation and space
flight. Take a virtual tour. Be sure to check out the Education
section which includes Teacher Resources (e.g. Kids History of
Flight, Teacher's History of Flight) and student activities. Also
contains a nice set of web links about aviation and aviation museums.
- Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. from Smithsonian Institution. (E, I, HS, C, G)
- The Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum (NASM)
maintains the largest collection of historic air and spacecraft in
the world. It is also a vital center for research into the history,
science, and technology of aviation and space flight. Located on the
National Mall in Washington, D.C., the Museum has hundreds of
artifacts on display including the original Wright 1903 Flyer, the
"Spirit of St. Louis," Apollo 11 command module, and a
Lunar rock sample that visitors can touch.
- Educational Services | Online Learning. (E, I, G)
- URL: http://www.nasm.si.edu/nasm/edu/activity.html
- Black Wings: African American Pioneer Aviators. (E, I, G)
- URL: http://www.nasm.si.edu/interact/blackwings/hstory/index.html
- Exploring the Planets. (E, I, G)
- URL: http://www.nasm.si.edu/ceps/etp/
- How Things Fly: An Exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum. (E, I)
- URL: http://www.nasm.si.edu/exhibitions/gal109/gal109.html
- Science activities you can do at home:
- Is Air Really There?. (E, I)
- Without air, balloons, birds and airplanes
couldn't fly. But since you can't taste, see,
or often even feel air, how can you prove to
yourself that it's really there? Maybe you're
convinced that air is stuff, but does it have
weight? If so, how much?
- Free Fall. (E, I)
- Our heroes are in a dilemma. They've been
kidnapped and locked in identical rooms and
left with only a radio and three science
experiments. One of the rooms is falling down
an enormous mine shaft, while the other is in
deep space. Their captors have promised to
release them if they can tell which is which.
Try their three experiments - will your
findings help them?
- Full of Hot Air. (E, I)
- Helium and hot-air balloons float in
air, but how? What holds them up? Is
floating a type of flying?
- Look Mom, No Wings!. (E, I)
- Do you ever dream of being able to fly?
The good news is, you probably can! The
bad news is that you can't fly very high
or stay up very long.
- Bernoulli Brain-Teasers. (E, I)
- To pilots, "lift" means the
way that air holds up airplanes and
other flying objects. These activities
will show you how it works -- and they
don't require a pilot's license
- Science in Your Airplane Seat. (E, I)
- Why are airplane wings shaped the way
they are? What can pretzels tell you
about flying? Find out on your next
- Web Sites. (E, I, HS, G)
- URL: http://www.nasm.si.edu/galleries/gal109/NEWHTF/RESROOM/HOTLINKS.HTM
- Educational Links. (E, I, HS, G)
- URL: http://www.nasm.si.edu/help/links/edulinks.cfm
- Exhibitions. (E, I, HS, C, G)
- URL: http://www.nasm.si.edu/exhibitions/current.cfm
- Milestones of Flight. (E, I, HS, C, G)
- URL: http://www.nasm.si.edu/galleries/gal100/gal100.html
- The Wright Brothers: The Invention of the Aerial Age. (E, I, HS, C, G)
- URL: http://www.nasm.si.edu/wrightbrothers/
- To Fly is Everything: A Virtual Museum Covering the Invention of the Airplane. from Gary Bradshaw, Mississippi State University. (I, HS, C, G)
- "To Fly is Everything . . ." is a comprehensive site
covering aviation history. It contains a digital library that
includes numerous books and articles, mostly dating to the turn of
the century. A photo gallery contains video clips of early craft in
flight, and numerous photographs of early planes. The Tale of the
Aeroplane provides a brief account of how the airplane was invented.
The plane database provides details on several early craft. Our
inventor's gallery contains a description of various personalities
who worked in the field.
- U. S. Air Force. Centennial of Flight 1903-2003. from Air Force Materiel Command Public Affairs Office, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. (I, HS, C, G)
- Contains information, news, links, and educational resources related
to the centennial of flight.
- U. S. Centennial of Flight Commission. from U. S. Centennial of Flight Commission. (I, HS, C, G)
- On Dec. 17, 1903, at 10:35 a.m., two brothers driven by tenacity,
creativity and courage completed the world's first successful
powered, heavier-than-air flight at Kill Devil Hills, N.C. for a
12-second, 120-foot journey. The Wright brothers accomplished what
people had only imagined since the beginning of time. The national
"Centennial of Flight: Born of Dreams -- Inspired by
Freedom" celebration commemorates this achievement and 100 years
of aviation history. Our Centennial Partners are planning everything
from cross-country tours to air shows and exhibitions, seminars and
television specials. Use our Web site to access the most up-to-date
information on celebration activity as well as the most comprehensive
collection of outstanding educational essays, multimedia and links
regarding the history of flight.
- Women in Aviation Resource Center. from Black Hawk Publishing. (I, HS, C, G)
- Over 503 educational, historical, and networking resources to empower
women in all aspects of aviation.
- The Wonder of Flight. from Boeing. (E, I, HS, C, G)
- Contains two modules: How Do Things Fly and A Century of Discovery.
Learn how birds, dragonflies, hot air baloons, and airplanes able to
fly. Learn about dreamers who made a difference. Includes
Milestones in Flight (http://www.boeing.com/companyoffices/aboutus/wonder_of_flight/timeline.html).
- Wright Again. from National Business Aviation Association. (E, I, HS)
- Cislunar Aerospace, in partnership with The Franklin Institute
Science Museum, is pleased to present "Wright Again," a
project that celebrates the work and achievements of Wilbur and
Orville Wright. "Wright Again" invites elementary, middle,
and high school students to follow the technical development of the
first successful powered airplane -- the 1903 Wright Flyer. Although
many Wright Brothers web sites exist, the content is typically
historical in nature. "Wright Again" is unique -- the
project virtually re-creates the development and construction of the
Wright Flyer on the Web. The project follows the progress of the
Wrights day by day, explaining the successes and setbacks from a
scientific perspective as well as historical. Issues include
aerodynamics, propulsion, control, and structural design.
- The Wright Brothers. from The Franklin Institute Online. (E, I, HS, G)
- This site contains in-flight film footage, links to historical
artifacts (e.g. 2-D and 3-D objects related to the Wright Brothers),
and education resources.
- Wright Brothers Aeroplane Company and Museum of Pioneer Aviation. from The Wright Brothers Aeroplane Company. (E, I, HS, C, G)
- The Wright Brothers Aeroplane Company and Museum of Pioneer Aviation
is a forum for early aviation historians and enthusiasts, a living
document that grows and evolves. Virtual exhibits in the Museum are
organized into four sections: History Wing, Adventure Wing, The
Information Desk, and Outreach Programs.
- Wright Brothers @ the Libraries. from Wright State University. (HS, C, G)
- Wright State University Library contains 6,000 items from the Wright
estate. This includes over 200 technical books, journals, and
pamphlets accumulated by the brothers, family records and diaries,
and copy photographs made from the original glass plate negatives. A
full description of materials, a searchable catalog of photographs,
Centennial activities, as well as Wright Brothers links and a
bibliography of Wright Brothers Sources for children and adults is
available on this web site. In addition, the Archives at Wright State
University Library has over 70 other manuscript collections relating
to the history of flight.
- Flying Machines: A 1909 Postcard Exhibit. (HS, C, G)
- These digital reproductions of vintage French aviation
postcards are from the Charles Lewis Collection in Dunbar
Library’s Special Collections and Archives.
- The Wright Brothers National Memorial. from U. S. National Park Service. (E, I, HS, C, G)
- The first successful sustained powered flights in a heavier-than-air
machine were made here by Wilbur and Orville Wright on December 17,
1903. A 60-foot granite monument dedicated in 1932, is perched atop
90-foot tall Kill Devil Hill commemorating the achievement of these
two visionaries from Dayton, Ohio. A visit should include touring the
museum exhibits, participating in a ranger conducted program, touring
the reconstructed camp buildings and first flight trail area, and a
climb up Kill Devil Hill to view the memorial pylon.
- The Wright Brothers in Photographs Collection. from OhioLINK Digital Media Center. (E, I, HS, C, G)
- The Wright Brothers in Photographs Collection, is hosted by the
History & Archival Collections database of the OhioLINK Digital
Media Center (DMC). This collection of digital images from Wright
State University Libraries' Wright Brothers Collection provides
thorough coverage of the Wrights' early inventive period documenting
their experimental gliders and flight testing in both North Carolina
and Ohio. The content posted to date also provides a valuable record
of their home life, camp life, and the flora and fauna of the Outer
Banks 100 years ago. The project is ongoing and more images will be
added whenever possible.
- The Wright Experience. (I, HS, C, G)
- Celebrating the achievements of Wilbur and Orville Wright, the Wright
Experience is researching, reconstructing, testing, analyzing, and
documenting authentic full-scale reproductions of the Wright
Brothers' developmental aircraft and engines.
- Wright Flyer Online. from U. S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (E, I, HS, C, G)
- Learn about a full-sized replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer. Students
can follow the trailing vortex as it is tested in a NASA wind tunnel.
- The Wright Stuff: A BPS Documentary Transcript. from PBS. (I, HS, C, G)
- Part of The American Experience series, this 1996 show on the Wright
brothers was hosted by David McCullough.
- The Wright Way. from U. S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (E, I, HS)
- Learn about the development of the first manned, powered flight from
its conception through research and experimentation, to success and
beyond. This website features facts, lesson plans, simulations,
activities, and contains information on how to participate in the
Centennial of Flight Celebration.
- Yahooligans! - Science and Nature: Machines: Airplanes and Flying: History of Flight. (E, I)
- URL: http://www.yahooligans.com/Science_and_Nature/Machines/Airplanes_and_Flying/History_of_Flight/
Copyright © 2003 American Chemical Society