Transportation

Rivers, Roads, Rails, and Air | Water Communication

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Learn how rivers already provided an avenue for the movement of goods and people in 1803 when Lewis and Clark traveled up the Missouri River to look for a waterway to the West.

Layover in Atlanta: The Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport | Georgia Stories

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 Flying came into vogue at the turn of the century. Asa Candler built a speedway on 300 acres of cotton fields near the village of Hapeville where popular auto races and flying shows were staged. Cities need good transportation features to prosper and Atlanta was already a railroad hub in the South. Local pilots urged that an airport be built but aviation was thought to be a fad. It was not until 1927 when the city of Atlanta bought the speedway and the federal government made Atlanta an airmail stop that the airport really took off. Through the years new terminals were built and billions were pumped in the economy.

The 21st Century Mission: The 787

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Discover how The Boeing Company’s decision to abandon one revolutionary airplane design led to another successful design, in this video from WGBH and The Documentary Group. In 2000, as aerospace manufacturer Boeing considered its next major airplane design, it was fixed on the Sonic Cruiser, a passenger plane that flew near the speed of sound and whose design was unlike any ever seen before. But rising fuel costs and the events of September 11, 2001 prompted the company to revise its plans. Responding to its customers’ needs, Boeing would focus instead on building a plane that operated more economically. To accomplish its goal, Boeing used advanced composite materials, which are lightweight, strong, and durable. In 2009, the 787 Dreamliner—the culmination of Boeing’s efforts and innovation—took to the skies. This resource is part of the Aerospace Engineering collection.

Hydrogen: Nature's Fuel | Making Fuel Cells

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Nuvera demonstrates how various-sized fuel cells are manufactured. Fuels cells are adaptable to the amount of power needed.

Design Innovation for Jet-Powered Flight: The Swept Wing

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Discover the origins of the swept wing and podded engine design, two technologies that helped engineers harness the speed potential of jet engines, in this video from WGBH and The Documentary Group. Today, most jetliners share a common design: wings that sweep back from the body of the plane, with engines mounted beneath them. This design dates back to the end of World War II, when Allied military forces discovered secret German research that had been meant to be destroyed. Swept wings delay the formation of shock waves at higher speeds, and podded engines suspended below the wings help bring wing vibration under control. Together, these technologies enabled stable flight at speeds twice as fast as those that propeller engines had previously generated. This resource is part of the Aerospace Engineering Collection.

Growing Energy

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Discover how Brazil's innovative fuel usage provides an argument for alternative fuels.

Flying Cheap: The Crash of Continental Flight 3407

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In Feb 2009, Continental Flight 3407 crashed outside of Buffalo, N.Y., killing 50 people. The flight was operated by Colgan Air, a regional airline that flies routes under contract for US Airways, United and Continental. The crash and subsequent investigation revealed a little-known trend in the airline industry: Major airlines have outsourced more of their flights to obscure regional carriers.

In this video chapter from FRONTLINE  Flying Cheap, correspondent Miles O'Brien explores this trend and examines some of the many factors that may have contributed to the accident.

Engineering Engines | MIT's Science Out Loud

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Ever wondered what horsepower really means, and what horses have to do with other modes of transportation? Luke and Abhi take us behind how engines work in machines all around us, including the surprising ways that they're all related!

Transforming the Future of Flight

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In the early 1900s, the Wright Brothers found inspiration for their first airplane in nature. Their "Flyer," which was modeled on a bird's flexible wing design, was steered and stabilized by pulleys and cables that twisted the wingtips. Despite its success, this control strategy quickly vanished from aviation. Instead, stiff wings capable of withstanding the greater forces associated with increased aircraft weights and flying speeds became the standard. In this video segment adapted from NASA, learn how designs found in nature have inspired today's aerospace engineers as they conceive the next-generation of flying machines.

This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

New Cargo | Steamboats on the Red

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Learn how, beginning in the late 1880s and early 1900s, the cargo transported on the steamboats changed from buffalo robes and furs to hard spring wheat, in this video from the Steamboats on the Red series. As a result, grain elevators were built along the banks of the river, and farmers were able to get their crops to market fairly quickly.

Looking at the shallow twists and turns of the Red River, it’s hard to imagine that steam-powered paddlewheel boats were once the most important transportation link between St. Paul, Minnesota, and Winnipeg, Manitoba. From the first in 1859 to the last that sank in 1909, Red River steamboats hauled thousands of settlers and millions of tons of freight across the border between the United States and Canada. Although it lasted barely 50 years, the age of the steamboat forged a commercial network between the two countries that exists to this day in the Interstate-29 corridor.

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