Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Commercial Aircraft

Ever since the boys got interested in planes, they've been pointing them out in the sky all the time (we live right on the flight path toward the airport). At first I didn't believe they could actually tell what kind of planes they were seeing from the ground, but after a while I was forced to accept that indeed, they could. I asked them to tell me how to identify the different types of commercial aircraft, and they came up with this sheet (Seb drew the various engine configurations, and I wrote down what they told me was significant about each plane).

Of course, there are many more planes than this, but this lists all the ones we commonly see around here, around with a few others of their favorites. As you can see, they thought the best way to organize them was by how many engines each plane had, and where they were located. (I confess, though, even with this sheet I have a hard time knowing what I'm seeing in the sky! Maybe my eyes are not as sharp as theirs.)

On one of the days, we drove up to the Salt Lake Airport to do some planespotting. We found some good areas to watch the runways, but unfortunately went at a time when there were not many flights going out or coming in. We plan to go back sometime soon at a busier time of day! (We read somewhere that evenings from 4-7 is a pretty busy time.) Still, we had fun looking at the parts of the airport we rarely see, and getting up close to things like the runway lights.
Here's a place where the aviation firefighters practice. I like this blackened fuselage they use for (presumably?) putting out fires and evacuating people and so forth.
Goldie was just happy to be there
Runway approach lights
We watched several documentaries about Commercial Airplanes we are interested in. (My great-uncle, recently deceased, worked for Boeing for years and years. I remember loving to hear all his stories when I was younger, and I think my brothers even got to go in their flight simulator once. I wish we had had him around to teach us during this unit!)

This one about the Airbus A380 (Ky's favorite plane) has one of the guys from "Top Gear" in it. We liked it and it was very entertaining (sort of like "Mythbusters" or something), although Abe did comment afterwards that if he never heard about another Mongol Bow, it would be too soon for him!

I don't know where I was in the year 2000, but apparently I missed the huge news about the Concorde crash in France. Or maybe I heard about it and just didn't care. Anyway, I thought this documentary (one of several shows on this disc; we didn't watch the others) about the Concorde was FASCINATING. I looked up a bunch more articles about it afterwards. I really love the Concorde and I wish they would revive commercial supersonic flight! This article suggests that Airbus might be doing just that. I hope they win out over the stupid regulations and ill-informed environmental naysayers.

This video is about the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Abe loves these. It's such a modern-looking plane. I'd like to fly on one.

This video is about airplane crashes. I was slightly worried that it would be scary or disturbing, but my children are so fascinated with such things! And it wasn't scary. It did a good job of showing all the safety precautions that are in place, and how they are improving all the time.

This one is cool—it shows the strip-down and overhaul of a Boeing 747. I can't believe all the intricate systems that are checked and re-checked, mostly by hand, in one of these huge airplanes!

Biggest airplane in the world: the Antonov AN225. It's just amazing that this thing even flies! (This one is Malachi's OTHER favorite.)

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