the 21st century, airplanes are a normal part of everyday life. We see
them fly over, or read about them, or see them on television. Most of
us have traveled on an airplane, or we know someone who has. Do you
ever wonder how airplanes fly? What causes the lift that gets the airplane
off the runway? How does a pilot control the movement of the airplane?
How did the Wright Brothers invent the airplane?
Why are the engines on an airliner different from the engines on a fighter
plane? How does aerodynamics affect the flight of a baseball, soccer ball, model rocket or
kite? The information at this site is provided by the NASA Glenn
Educational Programs Office (EPO)
to give you a better understanding
of how aircraft and aerodynamics work.
The web site is divided into Beginner's Guides about a single topic.
There is an index for each guide that lists pages within the
guide. Each page describes a single subject related to the topic and every
page has the same format. At the top of the page is a slide or graphic
that illustrates the subject. Below the slide is a detailed description of
the physics and math related to the subject of the slide. There are many
hyperlinks and references to other pages at the site where you can find
additional information. At the bottom of each page are some navigation
links with colored buttons to take you back to the appropriate index.
On many pages we have interactive simulator
computer programs, calculators, computer animations, and movies
that demonstrate the physics and math of the topic. You can download your
own copy of any of these programs or animations by following the directions
on the web page that contains the program.
The Beginner's Guide to Aeronautics has been on the web for over a dozen years.
During that time, NASA projects have come and gone and the intended audience
has variously changed from high school students to college students and back
to middle school students. So there is
a wide breadth of information here at the site. The mathematics alone spans the range
from calculating the area of a rectangular wing to using calculus to derive
the ideal rocket equation. We are currently grouping and tagging the
web pages by grade level so that teachers can more easily find grade-appropriate
activities. This may result in multiple versions of the same page.
Much of the material in the Beginnner's Guides to Aerodynamics and Propulsion
was originially developed for NASA's Learning Technologies Project (LTP).
The Beginner's Guide to Model Rocketry was developed
for the Exploration Systems Misssion Directorate (ESMD).
Re-Living Wright Way was developed as part of NASA's Centennial of Flight Celebration.
The Kid's Page was developed under the Ultra Efficient Engine Technology (UEET) Project
at NASA Glenn.
The Beginner's Guides to Hypersonic and Wind Tunnels were
built for the Fundamental Aero program (FAP)
of the Aeronautics Reasearch Mission Directorate (ARMD).
Aerodynamics of Soccer was built for NASA HQ during the 2010
Summer of Innovation Project.
For many of the
are available for teachers to use in class. These
activities were developed by teachers during summer workshops including:
and middle school teachers at two workshops sponsored by
LTP in 1996 and 1997.
- Middle and
secondary school teachers at four workshops cosponsored by
the LTP and the Ohio Space Grant Consortium in 1998 and 1999.
middle and secondary school teachers from the University of Akron,
Akron, Ohio, in 2000.
At each Beginner's Guide index, there is a link to an
index of the teacher-generated activities related to the topic.
You can also access the activities by clicking on buttons at the bottom of a web
page. As an aid to teachers, we have organized the activities by grade
level (K-6, 4-6, 6-8, 9-12, 11-12) using color-coded buttons.
The web site was prepared
to provide background information on basic aerodynamics and propulsion
for math and science teachers, students, and life-long learners. We
have intentionally organized the Beginner's Guides to mirror the unstructured nature
of the world wide web. There are many pages
here connected to one another through hyperlinks. You can then navigate
through the links based on your own interest and inquiry. However, if
you prefer a more structured approach, you can also take one of our
Guided Tours through the site. Each tour provides
a sequence of pages dealing with some aspect of aerodynamics or propulsion.
We have also produced many Power Point Presentations
on the various topics using the slides from the Beginner's Guides.
You are encouraged to download and modify these presentations for your own use.
You can download a copy of any slide on any page by using a right click and "Save As..".
All of this information was developed in the public domain.
We would like to know if you are using the Beginner's Guides or any of the
interactive computer programs. We continue to upgrade, improve, and extend
the programs based on user comments. Please send your comments to Tom Benson using
the link at the bottom of any page.
The site has been developed to support Section
508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Many of the pages contain mathematical
equations which have been produced graphically and which are too
long or complex to provide in an "ALT" tag. For these pages, we
have retained the non-compliant graphic at the top of the page
and have provided a compliant text version of the equations in the
body of the page. In many cases, because of the use of Greek fonts in the
graphics, the purely English text version of the equations is slightly
different than the graphic version. The differences are noted in the text.
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