An airplane or aeroplane (informally plane) is a powered, fixed-wing aircraft that is propelled forward by thrust from a jet engine or propeller. Airplanes come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and wing configurations. The broad spectrum of uses for airplanes includes recreation, transportation of goods and people, military, and research. Commercial aviation is a massive industry involving the flying of tens of thousands of passengers daily on airliners. Most airplanes are flown by a pilot on board the aircraft, but some are designed to be remotely or computer-controlled.
The Wright brothers invented and flew the first airplane in 1903, recognized as "the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight". They built on the works of George Cayley dating from 1799, when he set forth the concept of the modern airplane (and later built and flew models and successful passenger-carrying gliders). Between 1867 and 1896, the German pioneer of human aviation Otto Lilienthal also studied heavier-than-air flight. Following its limited use in World War I, aircraft technology continued to develop. Airplanes had a presence in all the major battles of World War II. The first jet aircraft was the German Heinkel He 178 in 1939. The first jet airliner, the de Havilland Comet, was introduced in 1952. The Boeing 707, the first widely successful commercial jet, was in commercial service for more than 50 years, from 1958 to at least 2013.
City in the Sky What does it take to get a million people and their luggage off the ground and up in the air?
City in the Sky – Episode 1 – Departure (Part 1)
Air France Airbus A380-800
What does it take to get a million people and their luggage off the ground and up in the air? From building the world’s biggest passenger plane to navigating through the busiest airport on the planet, to theperils of getting airborne in the coldest city on earth – Dallas and Hannah go to extremes to get under the skin of the remarkable story of departure.
City in the Sky – Episode 1 – Departure (Part 2)
Lufthansa Airbus A380
The Airbus A380 is a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine jet airliner manufactured by European Union manufacturer Airbus. It is the world's largest passenger airliner, and the airports at which it operates have upgraded facilities to accommodate it. It was initially named Airbus A3XX and designed to challenge Boeing's monopoly in the large-aircraft market. The A380 made its first flight on 27 April 2005 and entered commercial service in 25 October 2007 with Singapore Airlines.
The A380's upper deck extends along the entire length of the fuselage, with a width equivalent to a wide-body aircraft. This gives the A380-800's cabin 550 square metres (5,920 sq ft) of usable floor space, 40% more than the next largest airliner, the Boeing 747-8, and provides seating for 525 people in a typical three-class configuration or up to 853 people in an all-economy class configuration. The A380-800 has a design range of 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 km), serving the second and third longest non-stop scheduled flights (as of February 2017) in the world, and a cruising speed of Mach 0.85 (about 900 km/h, 560 mph or 490 kt at cruising altitude).
As of January 2017, Airbus had received 317 firm orders and delivered 207 aircraft; Emirates is the biggest A380 customer with 142 ordered of which 92 have been delivered.
City in the Sky – Episode 1 – Departure (Part 3)
Dubai International Airport
Dubai International Airport (IATA: DXB, ICAO: OMDB) is the primary airport serving Dubai, United Arab Emirates and is the world's busiest airport by international passenger traffic. It is also the 3rd busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic, the 6th busiest cargo airport in world, the busiest airport for Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 movements, and the busiest airport in the world operating with only two runways. In 2016, DXB handled 83.6 million passengers, 2.59 million tonnes of cargo and registered 418,220 aircraft movements.
Dubai International is situated in the Al Garhoud district, 2.5 nautical miles (4.6 km; 2.9 mi) east of Dubai and spread over an area of 2,900 hectares (7,200 acres) of land. The airport is operated by the Dubai Airports Company and is the home base of Dubai's international airlines, Emirates and flydubai. The Emirates hub is the largest airline hub in the Middle East; Emirates handles around 65% of all passenger traffic and accounts for approximately 42% of all aircraft movements at the airport. Dubai Airport is also the base for low-cost carrier flydubai which handles 11.6% of passenger traffic and 25% of aircraft movements at DXB. The airport consists of three terminals and has a total capacity of 90 million passengers annually. Terminal 3 is the second largest building in the world by floor space and the largest airport terminal in the world. As of January 2016, there are over 7,700 weekly flights operated by 140 airlines to over 270 destinations across all six inhabited continents.
Dubai International is an important contributor to the Dubai economy, as it employs approximately 90,000 people, indirectly supports over 400,000 jobs and contributes over US$26.7 billion to the economy, which represents around 27 per cent of Dubai’s GDP and 21% of the employment in Dubai. It is predicted that by 2020, the economic contribution of Dubai’s aviation sector will rise to 37.5% of the city's GDP and by 2030, the economic impact of aviation is projected to grow to $88.1 billion and support 1.95 million jobs in Dubai or 44.7% of the GDP and 35.1% of the total employment.
City in the Sky – Episode 2 – Airborne (Part 1)
There are around a million people airborne at any one time and keeping that number of people safely aloft depends on complex global networks and astonishing technology that stretches our ingenuity to theabsolute limit. In this programme, science broadcaster Dallas Campbell and Dr Hannah Fry explore just what it takes to keep this city in the sky safe between take-off and landing. Dallas discovers how pilots find their way across thousands of miles of sky in the dead of night. Hannah meets up with the air traffic controllers who are responsible for the busiest airspace in the world – over Atlanta in south east America – and reveal just what is involved in co-ordinating the 100,000 flights that cross the globe every day, while avoiding collisions. And it is not all about the planes themselves – whether it is the care of 64 horses that regularly fly around the globe to compete in showjumping competitions or inflight medical advice from ER doctors in Phoenix for passengers who fall ill at 35,000 feet. You will never look at your time aloft in the same way again…
City in the Sky – Episode 2 – Airborne (Part 2)
City in the Sky – Episode 2 – Airborne (Part 3)
Lufthansa Airbus A380
City in the Sky – Episode 3 – Arrival (Part 1)
There are around one million people airborne at any one time. But what goes up must come down – and bringing all those people safely back to earth depends on complex global networks and astonishing technology that stretches our ingenuity to the absolute limit. In this programme, science broadcaster Dallas Campbell and Dr Hannah Fry explore just what it takes to bring the citizens of the sky back to the ground. Dallas has a front row seat when he is in the cockpit with one of just 26 pilots in the world qualified to land at Paro, Bhutan. Meanwhile, Hannah meets up with the air traffic controllers who, at some times of the year, deal with over 1,000 flights a day arriving at Atlanta – the busiest airport in the world. She also visits Bangor Airport in Maine where they are always on standby – there have been over 2,000 unscheduled landings in the last decade alone. With the city in the sky predicted to double in size in the next 20 years, in this last episode in the series, the team also find out what the challenges are and what the future of aviation might.
City in the Sky – Episode 3 – Arrival (Part 2)
City in the Sky – Episode 3 – Arrival (Part 3)
Jumbo: The Plane that Changed the World
Jumbo: The Plane that Changed the World (Part 1)
At any given moment hundreds of people are soaring above us in a 747. From the moment the very first jumbo jet took off in 1969, it has been the aircraft against which all others are judged. But its 45-year journey has been anything but smooth. This is the definitive story of the Boeing 747, from its milestones and triumphs to its turning points and disasters. Witness its history through rare archival footage and tales from pilots, engineers, designers, and passengers who were there when it all began.
Jumbo: The Plane that Changed the World (Part 2)
The Boeing 747 is an American wide-body commercial jet airliner and cargo aircraft, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet. Its distinctive "hump" upper deck along the forward part of the aircraft makes it among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and it was the first wide-body produced. Manufactured by Boeing's Commercial Airplane unit in the United States, the original version of the 747 was envisioned to have 150 percent greater capacity than the Boeing 707, one of the common large commercial aircraft of the 1960s. First flown commercially in 1970, the 747 held the passenger capacity record for 37 years. As of December 2016, the 747 has been involved in 60 hull-loss accidents resulting in 3,718 fatalities.
The four-engine 747 uses a double-deck configuration for part of its length. It is available in passenger, freighter and other versions. Boeing designed the 747's hump-like upper deck to serve as a first class lounge or extra seating, and to allow the aircraft to be easily converted to a cargo carrier by removing seats and installing a front cargo door. Boeing did so because the company expected supersonic airliners (development of which was announced in the early 1960s) to render the 747 and other subsonic airliners obsolete, while the demand for subsonic cargo aircraft would be robust well into the future. The 747 was expected to become obsolete after 400 were sold, but it exceeded critics' expectations with production passing the 1,000 mark in 1993. By December 2016, 1,528 aircraft had been built, with 28 of the 747-8 variants remaining on order.
The 747-400, the most common passenger version in service, has a high-subsonic cruise speed of Mach 0.85–0.855 (up to 570 mph or 920 km/h) with an intercontinental range of 7,260 nautical miles (8,350 mi or 13,450 km). The 747-400 passenger version can accommodate 416 passengers in a typical three-class layout, 524 passengers in a typical two-class layout, or 660 passengers in a high density one-class configuration. The newest version of the aircraft, the 747-8, is in production and received certification in 2011. Deliveries of the 747-8F freighter version began in October 2011; deliveries of the 747-8I passenger version began in May 2012.
Jumbo: The Plane that Changed the World (Part 3)
Boeing 747 jumbo jet
In 1963, the United States Air Force started a series of study projects on a very large strategic transport aircraft. Although the C-141 Starlifter was being introduced, they believed that a much larger and more capable aircraft was needed, especially the capability to carry outsized cargo that would not fit in any existing aircraft. These studies led to initial requirements for the CX-Heavy Logistics System (CX-HLS) in March 1964 for an aircraft with a load capacity of 180,000 pounds (81,600 kg) and a speed of Mach 0.75 (500 mph or 800 km/h), and an unrefueled range of 5,000 nautical miles (9,300 km) with a payload of 115,000 pounds (52,200 kg). The payload bay had to be 17 feet (5.18 m) wide by 13.5 feet (4.11 m) high and 100 feet (30 m) long with access through doors at the front and rear.
Featuring only four engines, the design also required new engine designs with greatly increased power and better fuel economy. In May 1964, airframe proposals arrived from Boeing, Douglas, General Dynamics, Lockheed, and Martin Marietta; engine proposals were submitted by General Electric, Curtiss-Wright, and Pratt & Whitney. After a downselect, Boeing, Douglas, and Lockheed were given additional study contracts for the airframe, along with General Electric and Pratt & Whitney for the engines.
All three of the airframe proposals shared a number of features. As the CX-HLS needed to be able to be loaded from the front, a door had to be included where the cockpit usually was. All of the companies solved this problem by moving the cockpit above the cargo area; Douglas had a small "pod" just forward and above the wing, Lockheed used a long "spine" running the length of the aircraft with the wing spar passing through it, while Boeing blended the two, with a longer pod that ran from just behind the nose to just behind the wing. In 1965 Lockheed's aircraft design and General Electric's engine design were selected for the new C-5 Galaxy transport, which was the largest military aircraft in the world at the time. The nose door and raised cockpit concepts would be carried over to the design of the 747.
Boeing 747 jumbo jet
The 747 was conceived while air travel was increasing in the 1960s. The era of commercial jet transportation, led by the enormous popularity of the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8, had revolutionized long-distance travel. Even before it lost the CX-HLS contract, Boeing was pressed by Juan Trippe, president of Pan American World Airways (Pan Am), one of their most important airline customers, to build a passenger aircraft more than twice the size of the 707. During this time, airport congestion, worsened by increasing numbers of passengers carried on relatively small aircraft, became a problem that Trippe thought could be addressed by a large new aircraft.
In 1965, Joe Sutter was transferred from Boeing's 737 development team to manage the design studies for a new airliner, already assigned the model number 747. Sutter initiated a design study with Pan Am and other airlines, to better understand their requirements. At the time, it was widely thought that the 747 would eventually be superseded by supersonic transport aircraft. Boeing responded by designing the 747 so that it could be adapted easily to carry freight and remain in production even if sales of the passenger version declined. In the freighter role, the clear need was to support the containerized shipping methodologies that were being widely introduced at about the same time. Standard containers are 8 ft (2.4 m) square at the front (slightly higher due to attachment points) and available in 20 and 40 ft (6.1 and 12 m) lengths. This meant that it would be possible to support a 2-wide 2-high stack of containers two or three ranks deep with a fuselage size similar to the earlier CX-HLS project.
In April 1966, Pan Am ordered 25 747-100 aircraft for US$525 million. During the ceremonial 747 contract-signing banquet in Seattle on Boeing's 50th Anniversary, Juan Trippe predicted that the 747 would be "... a great weapon for peace, competing with intercontinental missiles for mankind's destiny". As launch customer, and because of its early involvement before placing a formal order, Pan Am was able to influence the design and development of the 747 to an extent unmatched by a single airline before or since.