What makes an airplane fly? How does a spacecraft stay in orbit? Why does a balloon float in the air? These and many other questions are answered in the How Things Fly website, a companion to the physical exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum about the basic principles of flight. In this interactive online exhibition, visitors can explore the flight environment, aerodynamics, propulsion, structures and materials, flight dynamics and see the forces of flight in action.
"The How Things Fly website is based on the Museum’s most popular hands-on exhibition," said gallery manager Michael Hulslander. "By integrating animations, videos, games and social media we hope users will learn complex aeronautical concepts in a way that is fun and engaging."
The website is the Museum’s first interactive offering specifically geared toward students. Some of the key features are:
The website also includes immersive educational and social activities that allow users to interact with their friends via email, Facebook or Twitter:
The National Air and Space Museum building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Va., near Washington Dulles International Airport. Both facilities are open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free, but there is a $15 fee for parking at the Udvar-Hazy Center.