Aeroplane (Gnv64)

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    Flying machine des igned byLeonardo da Vinci (1505)


    I.... and now I :'. AI. ..

    Wright brothers-inventorsof powered flight (1903)

    ..and takes off...

    Icarus-from Greek -= Man's f i rst attempt at flyingmythology - (1020 A.D.)=

    An idea takes shape ...

    Airship (1852)

    r- ---------- , - - _. -- - --- -

    -- - --Garuda-Indian mythologicalbird

    I Hot-air balloon (1783) 1_

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    Up above the world so highLike a big bird in the sky ....

    It's so unreal. At the same time sofascinating. This gigantic bird that manhas invented-the aeroplane.Unlike an automobile, a train or aship, itbreaks all barriers as it speeds along,sometimes faster than the speed of sound,across the limitless sky.To man, the aeroplane was a symbol offreedom. In ancient Hindu mythology it wasGaruda-the great celestial bird who is saidto have 'mocked the wind with hisfleetness.' And in Greece it was Icarus whois supposed to have risen from the earth onwings ofwax and flown until he came soclose to the sun that his wings melted.Perhaps it had always been man's secretdesire to compete with the birds. To glidegracefully in the air. To break free from theearth. To soar over the mountains and theseas. The aeroplane is in fact, a dream cometrue.

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    Try try againMany daring men tried to construct wings

    fo r themselves before the plane wasinvented. One such was Oliver ofMalmesbury, an English monk. He wore apair of thin wooden wings across hisshoulders, fixed a steering to his heels andwent flap, flap from the tower of MalmesburyAbbey, ti ll he flopped r ight down and almostbroke his crown! But that did not stop othersfrom trying. Infact, it was try, try again thatfinally worked. One person who contributedto the theory of f l ight is Leonardo da Vinci.What's a painter got to do with planes? Well,Leonardo's designs showed that muscle-power was not sufficient to fly. It neededcertain mechanical devices before fHghtcould be possible.But even this suggestion was of no helpto anyone fo r about 450 years. No one couldimagine that one day i t would be possible toget off the ground and stay there.

    Up goes the balloonFancy travelling in a balloon. It seems as

    remote as travelling on amagic carpet. Yet,the first t ime that man left the ground by acraft, he sat in a basket attached to aballoon. Bigger than the ones you play withof course!Two Frenchmen, the Montgolfierbrothers, made this possible.One day, sitting by the fireside, theynoticed little pieces of burned paper risingin the air. 'I f only we could trap enough of

    that gas produced by the bu rning fire', theythought, 'then we could use it to l if t evenmen off the ground'.

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    T. ontgol .r ot Ir alloon

    To begin with they held a small silk bagover an indoor f ire, open end downward.Then they le t go. It rose quickly to theceiling.In September 1783 they invited the Kingand Queen of France to a demonstration oftheir craft in the palace garden. For thisoccasion they buttoned together some linenpanels and made a huge balloon, 38 feet indiameter. They lined it with paper to make itairtight. Then they f il led it out with a gasfrom a fire of wool and straw and releasedit. The balloon, believe it or not, went upto aheight of more than 1,800 metres before itlanded a kilometre or so from its take-offpoint.The Montgolfiers became heroes

    instantly. After all they had created the firstaerial vehicle.The first successful human flight in aballoon was from Paris In 1783.

    Ballooning soon became a sport and aspectacle all over the world.

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    Sir George Cayley, an Englishman, triedto improve on the balloon by suggestingthe use of a streamlined gas-bag. Heintroduced steam driven propellers fo rsteering it. But it was not unti l 1850 thatsuch a craft was bui lt . It was called anairship.Two people associated with airships are aBrazilian, Alberto Santos Dumont and aGerman, Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin.But airships, as it turned out, were slow andthe hydrogen gas which made them floatcaught fire easily.In 1937 the huge transatlantic airship

    'Hindenburg' exploded in flames over NewYork.With this ended the life of airships.The airship 'Hindenburg' had a dining

    room 4.5 metres by 15 metres for her 70passengers. The classic Hindenburg lunchover the Atlantic was-Indian swallows'nest soup, caviar and Rhine Salmon, lobster, saddle of venison, fruit and cheese.

    Tho e magnificent boyThe brains behind the more familiar

    heavier-than-air aeroplane that we seetoday were two boys-Wilbur and OrvilleWright. Theyweren't extraordinary. Justpersistent and dedicated.One day theirfather brought home a toy aeroplane. Itwas made of bamboo, cork and paper anddriven by rubber bands. But it flew.Wilbur and Orville, when they saw it,were determined to be the first men to f ly. Itwas this determination that led them tobuild a flyin,g machine in their bicycle shop.Then, instead of holidaying in summer,

    they toddled of f to Kitty Hawk-a desertedseacoast in North Carolina-to experimentwith their craft. After thousands of trials anderrors they were able to glide this machinemade of sticks and cloth, controlling bothup and down as well as sidewaysmovement. Then they fitted an internalcombustion engine and two propellers to it.

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    flyer-I- the world ' . f i r. t powered flight

    ~ / , . //11

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    12 seconds that changed the worldOn December 17, 1903 dawned the bigday. The two brothers took their machine,Flyer I, to the same sandy beach, Kitty Hawk.Both brothers were bachelors because, asOrville said, they couldn't "support awife

    as well as an aeroplane".Orville lay flat on the lower wing ready toguide the machine, while Wilbur started it.The engine came alive. The propellersspun. The plane shook. It rolled down thebeach. Then suddenly it was up in the air. Itbobbed up and down. I t swayed a l it tle fromside to side. But the important thing wasthat it f lew. It flew a distance of 36 metres in12 seconds before it came down in thesand. Theywere themost momentous 12seconds in the history of powered flight.Man had learnt to fly. First a few hundredfeet, then several miles, then across theNorth Sea, then over the Atlantic Ocean andthen round the world.

    Puss moth

    Flight to BombayOctober 15, 1932. Twenty-nine years afterthe Wright brothers had created arevolution in the field of transport. At break

    of day in Karachi, a light single-enginedaircraft spinned into l ife. It swung into theair and took wing almost instantly. It washeading for Bombay.At the controls was the strapping 28year-old pilot,J.R.D. Tata. The aircraft he

    was flying was a Puss Moth,a wooden planewith fabric covering, except for the frontportion of the cabin door pillars and the

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    engine mounts which were of tubular steel.He carried no passengers, only mail,because his plane was not big enough for

    both.Nervous he must have been. But alsovery very proud. For, as he brought in theplane to land at Juhu, in Bombay, he knewhe would be making history. That was theday that changed the face of the Indian sky.J.R.D. Tata brought to India the adventureof flying; the advantages of this remarkableinvention.We've come a long way since.From the Puss Moth, the Leopard Moth, theDH-86, the DH-89 and the Stintson to themore familiar Dakota, Viking, Skymaster,Constellation, Super Constellation, Boeing707 and now the Boeing 747 and the Airbus.Tata Airlines is now Air India.

    Air-India is one of the oldest airlines in theworld.

    The aeroplane todayIn just over eighty years aeroplanes have

    developed from frail curios to machines wecan't do without in the field of transport,communication and defence. Every secondone aircraft is taking off or landingsomewhere in the world.

    In 1927, i t took Lindbergh, a 25-year-oldAmerican, 33 hours and 29 minutes to flyf rom New York to Paris. Today we havesupersonic transport (SST) that travelstwice as fast as the speed of sound and jets. across the Atlantic Ocean in just threehours. Flying at a speed of 2150 km/h, it cancarry over a hundred people.Aside from carrying passengers and mailacross the world, aeroplanes are also goodfreight carriers. A single Boeing 747FJumbo je t can carry as much cargo in ayearas was conveyed by all the world's airlinestogether in 1939.We also have fighter planes which have

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    How does this huge object, someweighing 320 tons fly so gracefully in thesky and manage to stay up there fo r so longalmost as if it were part of God's creation.Lift, thrust and drag. These are thefundamentals of f light. Al l three areinvisible, yet this is what man has devotedmany, many years to , in order to get anobject that is heavier than air up in theclouds.

    A Qiant in the s y

    Supersonic Jet

    the ability to go 'zang'! This means that theplane will suddenly dart sideways, gostraight up or straight down withoutchanging wing or nose position. The Harriercan take-off and land vertically. It can landin rough counrty without runways, or on the ....I"f---------------_eck of a ship. " l " , , ~These are just some of the recent , The world's first airmail fl ight was flownadvances in aviation technology. A new in I n ~ i a on February 18, 1911, .when . ~ r .generation of longer winged, fuel eff icient Henri Pequet',a Frenchman, earned mall Injetliners is waiting to take-off, a ~ ~ m b e r , bl-plane f r o ~ Allahabad to

    Th 'II' "t ' Y t II k Nalnl Junction, some 9.6 kilometres away.n mg I IS. e we a seem to ta eflying fo r granted today.

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    How does it go up?Lift-the most important part offlyingcomes from the flow of air around the

    wings of the aeroplane. Lift is what pushesthe wing up.It was a Swiss scientist, Daniel Bernoulli,

    who discovered that "in any moving fluidthe pressure is lowest where the speed isgreatest. The air about us acts like a fluidand if we can increase the speed of air overa surface, such as a wing, the pressureshould decrease and the wing should rise."

    This principle can be applied to an aero-plane as well.I f you walk up to an aircraft and look at itcarefully you'll notice that the upper surfaceof the wing is general ly curved whi le the

    Flow of air over curved wing (aerofoil) lifts the plane

    lower part is straight.Now, if you walk up to a bird-thatmay

    not be as easy as walking up to an aircraftyou'll see that its wings too are curved ontop while the bottom is straight.It is this shape, called the aerofoil, thathelps to lift the plane and keep it up. Inorder to understand why this is so, we haveto know a bit about airflow.The air that goes over the top of the wingwill act differently than the air that goesunder the wing. As the air has to travel a../ :

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    1. Paste here 2. Push knitting needle in centre 3. Blow 4. Cross section of a wing 5. Ai rgreater distance over the top part of thewing, which is curved, it will travel at afaster speed. The air that goes under thewing will flow along a straight line. Intravelling farther the layer of ai r on top ofthe wing thins out.All along the top of the wing, therefore,there is low pressure and along the bottomthere is a thick layer of air. When there'smore air under the wing than on top onlyone thing can happen. The air underneathpushes the wing up, up and away.To understand this better here'swhat youcan do. Take a piece of stiff paper about 15

    centimetres by 20 centimetres. Roll it overand paste the 15 centimetre ends as shown.Push in a kni tt ing needle in the centre.Hold the paper up by the knitting needleand blow hard on it. (See diagram) You willf ind the paper is being pushed up. This isthe result of lift caused by the shape of thepaper.The air that you blow on the paper flowsaround it. Some of it goes along the lowersurface to the back. But some flows on topand then to the back. There is a greaterpressure of ai r underneath and thus thepaper is pushed up.

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    The plane's best friend and worst enemyAir may seem like nothing, yet it is there.It has force, it has power. It can push. It can

    pull. It has density. It can act and react.Without air a plane cannot fly. Yet, if manhad not learnt to overcome the 'obstacles'in the air he would not have been able to fly.1. Lift 2. Thrust 3. Drag 4. Weight

    A great big pushA plane is s ta nd in g on the ground waiting

    to take-off. There is air all around, but whatthe plane needs in order to get off theground, is thrust, or a big push, whichcreates the necessary f low of ai r around thewmgs.This comes from the en gi ne in a je taircraft. In a propeller-driven plane, that is aplane with huge fans-the push comes fromthe propellers.


    3................. ~



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    The engine at work

    1. Ai r intake 2. Propeller bladespull ai r backward


    As in motor car,an aircraft needs anengine. The only difference is that anaircraft engine is much bigger and stronger.Often a plane has more than one engine.Fuel runs the engine of an aeroplane, butunlike a motor car it does not send power tothe wheels. Instead it turns the propeller. Ina jet the engine works differently, as we willsee later.

    Aircraft tyres are fi lled with nitrogen, notair. This means that there is no oxygen inthem. So in case of an accident there isless chance of the tyre catching fire.

    " y

    What a dragDrag is what the plane has to f ightagainst. It is the resistance an aircraftexperiences when passing through the air.To overcome drag, the plane uses thrust.Every moving object tends to s low downbecause of drag. It could be the drag ofwater, the drag of air, or friction on roads orrails. This drag force can also slow down asatellite, until it falls to the ground.

    Incidentally, studies show that even themoon is affected by drag.Aircraft today are more streamlined so

    that there is less resistance f rom the air.When thrust and lift are stronger thandrag, the plane rises.r


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    ----- / . __ ..~ - - - - - - ff81>

    Watch-out it's the propellerThe aeroplane propeller is like a big fan. Ithas blades that are curved. These blades cut

    through the air, and also pull the airbackward. This ai r then pushes theaeroplane forward.If you were to be standing behind theplane when the propeller is turning, watchout. You would probably be blown off. Sogreat is the force generated.Issac Newton worked out how thishappens long before the propeller drivenplane was invented. He proved that actionand reaction are equal and opposite.When the propeller pushes air backwardit is action. The reaction pushes the

    propeller forward and being a part of theaeroplane it helps in carrying the planeforward.

    The jet-ageBefore the 2nd world war all aeroplanes

    had propellers. The first planes with je tengines were used in the war.The jet engine draws in air at the front.This air is forced into a chamber by blades.Here it is mixed with fuel. The mixtureburns. The burned gases shoot out from thejet pipe at high speed andwhoosh .. . theplane shoots forward.The principle is the same as in a propellerdriven plane. There is a force pushing 2

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    1. Cockpit 2. Nose wheel 3. Front passenger door 4. Wings(also serve as fuel tanks) 5. lIeron 6. Under carriage7 Hor izol 'ta stab il zer 8. Elevator . Rudder '0. Vertical fin'1 . Fre ight hold (b n ath the p ssenger deck)


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    ahead in the jet that is exactly equal to theforce of the gases gushing out of the backend.You can prove this by blowing up aballoon with air as far as it will go. Thenhold the end tightly so that no air escapes.When the balloon is closed the

    imprisoned air presses the inside of theballoon in all directions. Similarly theballoon presses on the enclosed air withequal pressure and in opposite direction.When you let go, the air is forced out of

    the opening. But there is another force,exerted by the air in the balloon upon the

    balloon's inner surface. This force is equalto the force pushing the air out, but itsdirection is opposite. That iswhy theballoon flies of f in the direction opposite tothat of the stream of air coming out of theballoon and goes shooting across the room.

    J I,IV8-- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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    The inside storyNow that we know how a plane gets off

    the ground and are reasonably sure of itstaying up there, let us board a Jumbo Jetand see what goes on insIde. t the aIrport

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    Boarding a plane by the way is not aseasy as getting into a car. And that is whyflying is an event fo r a lo t of people eventoday.

    An airport never sleeps. At any time of theday or night it's bustling with activity.International airports usually have theirdeparture and arrivals separate, so that thepassengers don't get mixed up.When you arrive at an airport you showyour t icket and have your baggage weighedfirst, fo r you are allowed a limited amount.International flight passengers must

    show their passports to the passport officer.Once all that is clear, you are requested toproceed to a particular gate number fo r asecurity check. From here you can eitherwalk straight on to the waiting plane or goby bus if the plane is a long way from theterminal.

    A Jumbo je t is so big tha t the first everflight by the Wright brothers in 1903 couldhave been made in the length of itspassenger cabin.

    Checking-in Passport Clearance Secu rity check


    To the plane


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    1. Seat belt 2. Fold-down table 3. Adjustable seat-back4. Light 5. Air-vent 6. Window

    --+--f------- 4 -5

    The toilets in an aircraft are expensivebecause of t he c o mp le x plumbing system.The power fo r heating the water has to betaken from a generator whirling at manythousands of r ev ol ut i on s p er m in ut e. Theflush is electric. The water is taken out byheavy suction and f in al l y s tr ea ms ou t o fthe a ircraf t in a 933.3 km/h st ream. It turnsInto ice instantly.

    On boardAt last yo u are on board. You are taken to

    your seat. It's a comfortable armchair whichcan be straightened when yo u w an t t o lookou t of the window and pushed back whenyou wish to have a nap. A jumbo is knownas a 'wide bodied' jet. The passengers si t upto ten abreast. The luggage hold is beneaththe passenger deck.

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    1. Capta in s seat 2. Rudder pedals 3 Control column4 Compass 5. Clock 6. Ai r speed indicator 7 Radioaltimeter 8. Pressure altimeter 9. Engine switches

    The cockpitRight up in front, in th e cockpit, sit the

    most important people, th e captain and th ecrew.The pilot checks in 90 minutes beforetake-off, and goes through the flight plan,that is, maps, checklists, certificates ofairworthiness and so on. Most flight plansare now worked ou t by a computer. Thecrew then examines the aircraft by taking awalk round it. A m on g o th er thi ng s like foodand drinks fo r over 300 people, about159,110 li tres of fuel are b ei ng p um pe d i nt oth e aircraft.

    In the cockpit the pilot's first check is tosee that all switches are off. Aircraftswitches, unlike other switches, are downf or o ff and up for on.Then he reads the log-book to see whatprevious pilots have noted. A ll p il ot s keep ad ia ry o f every flight, cal led a log.There are over 50 pre-flight checks that

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    the captain and f irst off icer go through oneby one. The captain sits in the left hand seat.The first officer or copilot sits on the rightand behind them facing sideways is theflight engineer.They have before them a mass of dialsand instruments which would makeanyone's head whirl and you wonder howthey can remember what is what whenflying the plane. Yet, fo r a pilot i t is theeasiest thing in the world.Some of the important instrumentsstrewn before him include the air-speedindicator which tells you how fast the planeis travelling; the compass which shows thedirection the plane is t ravell ing in; thealtimeter which tells you how high theplane is from the ground; the att itude gyrowhich indicates the plane's position inrelation to the horizon; the turn-and-bankindicator which tells you whether the planeis flying straight; the vertical-speedindicator which shows the rate at which the

    1. The pilot 2 The co-pilot 3. The engineer

    plane is climbing or descending in relationto the ground; the chronometer which is aperfectly accurate clock and so on.

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    Inside the control tower

    Fasten your seat-beltsFar across th e airfield is a brightly painted

    tower-a kind of light house fo r aeroplanes.The men wh o work inside this control tower

    tell th e pilot by radio, when to take off andwhen to land. The captain first asks fo rpermission to move slowly or 'taxi' to therunway.Then, the engines are started. In a jumboje t there are four engines. The plane 'taxis'to take-off position.You fasten your seat belts. The countdown begins.The captain and the first-officer push thefour throttle handles. The throttle helps toincrease th e speed of th e engine." V , " says co-pilot. That is the first speed,V standing for velocity. The plane racesdown the runway.In a fe w seconds the plane reaches VS,(the lift-off speed).

    "Rotate," says the co-pilot. The enginenow sounds like a 100 lions roaring.The captain pulls back th e control columnand the nose lif ts off the ground."V2" calls out the co-pilot, th e climbingspeed, and you're in the air !


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    You get a funny feeling in your stomach.Grrr .... Clunk! The wheels go up. Higherand higher you go, until automobiles on theroads look like dinky cars and people likeants.Bubbles pop in your ears. You swallowand they go away.

    Suddenly you can't see anything. Theplane is in a cloud.And suddenly it 's sunshine again. This

    time the plane is above the clouds. It hasbecome a part of the sky. A differentworldwhich is beautiful and serene.

    Some of the smoothest f lying in theworld is said to be had over the Arctic. Themost dangerous is said to be in the'Bermuda Triangle'. Legend has it thataircraft and ships travelling in the Bermu-da Triangle are snatched away by aninexplicable force.

    ...... "

    ---.,.- - - . : l ! l S 1 ! J F ~'" r,

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    - - - , 1 -_3


    OVlng In th bluA plane can move in almost any direction.It can be tilted up or down, turned right or

    left. To make this possible certain deviceson the edges of the wings and tail are used.These are called control surfaces and theyinclude elevators, rudder and ailerons. Theyare operated by pedals at the pilot's feetand by the control column.


    ... .,.".- ...: ..rFinding i ts way

    A pl ane can lose i ts way just as easily as acar. A single air current is enough to pull theplane off course, and that is why it is sonecessary to watch the compass and manyother instruments to make sure that theplane is keeping to the right course. Radiocontact with special transmitters set up nearairports help the most.Even better are networks of special radiosending stations that have been set up inmany parts of the world. A pilot with a radiothat can tune in to these stations can tellexactly where he is at any moment of hisflight.

    , Rudder 2. Elevator 3. Horizontal stabll zerG-------------------

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    1. Elevator 2. Downward force on tail 3. Nose comes up

    3 -....,

    21. Aileron down 2. Aileron movements make plane bank3. Plane banks causing it to turn 4. Aileron up 5. The pilotmoves the rudder slightly to balance the turn.

    Banana peel in the skyWhen the plane's nose swings from left to

    right it is known as yaw. The long tail, thevertical fin of the plane, has a broad metalmovable piece called the rudder.The pilot has only to press the right pedalat his feet and the rudder moves to the

    right. The air rushing past hits the rudderand pushes the tai l to the left. This helps toturn the plane to the right. If the pilot didn'tuse these controls and turned the plane justlike that it would skid like a car sometimesdoes. So you see the sky too has its bananapeels!

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    Pitching a planeW he n t he nose of a plane m ov es u p an d

    down it is known as pitching. This iscont roll ed by elevators-horizontal movableparts of th e aeroplane's tail.To take th e plane u p t he pilot pulls th econtrol column back. This moves t heelevators up. A ir flowing across th e


    elevators forces th e tail down and nose up .So the plane climbs.To descend th e opposite is done. The

    pilot pushes th e control column. Thismoves th e elevators down. The tail movesup and th e n o se g oe s down.

    One wrong move on th e part of th e pilotcan lead to disaster.

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    Rolling in the airWhen one wing goes up or down inrelation to the other the plane is said to berolling.To control this the wings have ailerons.These move in opposite directions. If theright aileron is up the left one will be down.

    The aircraft will then 'bank' towards theaileron that is up. So if the left aileron is upthe plane will not roll to the right.We've tried to tel l you as briefly aspossible some of the things involved inflying a plane. It is a highly technicaloperation and extremely challenging aswell. Perhaps one of these days you too will

    be up there, at the controls.


    King Khaled of Saudi Arabia has ordereda 21 million 747 executive jet. The planewill have a room with a throne and ahospital section with satellite communica-tions to a hospital in Cleveland.

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    Th . urn ov rBejewelled. Sparkling. Twinkling with th estars. Playing hide and seek with the clouds.

    Almost reluctant to leave th e skies she'swedded to-a plane landing at night is afascinating sight.Gently and so gracefully she slopes downth e dark skies, the left wing tipped with ared light, the r ig ht with a green one.Slowly but surely th e plane comes furtherdown towards t he a ir ort. But what' .ja m in th e air! /There are to o - = m = - a ~ n : : y ~ p T : 1a : : : n : : : e ; : : ; s : - : w ~ a ; ; - n t + ; I " n - ; ; ; g " " T f t o - - ~land at the same time. When this happensth e traffic controller 'stacks' them.

    What a come down! To be queueing up inth e same sky where she roamed so freely

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    minutes ago.Starting, from the bottom of the 'stack'the planes are given permission to land oneby one.The pilot recognizes his destination bytwo powerful lights called beacons. Soonthe runway lights come into view.Using control surfaces the pilot brings the

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    plane down so gently that you barely knowyou've landed.

    The journey is over and soon you'rehome. For the plane, however, life is aseries of 'touch and go's'. No sooner doesshe touch ground than she is spruced uponce more. Then off she goes to the skieswhere she belongs.

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    This book, one of a series of informationbooks, introduces the child to the aeroplane.It explains how it flies and how it came to be.

    Published by Children's Book Trust, Nehru House,

    Website: 788170112990 I