Transcript for NASASciFiles - The Case of the Challenging Flight

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HEY, YOU.

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HEY, ME?

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YEAH, YOU.

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COME SEE OUR CLUBHOUSE IN A TREE.

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WE ARE KIDS ON A MISSION TO EDUCATE
OURSELVES BY THE NASA VISION.

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COME EXPLORE MATH AND SCIENCE
'CAUSE THAT'S WHAT MAKES

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OUR ALLIANCE.

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WE ARE THE "WHY?"

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FILES CLUB.

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WE YEARN TO LEARN AND WANT TO
SEE EVERYTHING THAT WE CAN BE.

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SO COME JOIN US ON OUR JOURNEY.

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DON'T YOU TOUCH THAT DIAL.

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AND WELCOME TO THE NASA "WHY?"

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FILES.

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THIS IS KIDS SCIENCE NEW
NETWORK, AND I'M TED TUNE.

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AVIATION ENTHUSIASTS
ARE ALL AFLUTTER TODAY

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WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF
THE $10 MILLION "X" PRIZE.

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THAT'S RIGHT; IF YOU CAN DESIGN
A REUSABLE AIRCRAFT CAPABLE

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OF TAKING THREE TOURISTS INTO
SPACE, THE $10 MILLION IS YOURS.

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WOW, I COULD BUY A LOT OF AIR
FRESHENER WITH 10 MILLION BUCKS.

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OH, SORRY.

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A LITTLE CLOSER TO HOME, THE ANNUAL
EGGS-TRAORDINARY AIRPLANE CONTEST

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IS SET TO GET UNDERWAY NEXT WEEK.

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WE HAVE A LIVE REPORT
FROM I.M. LISSNING.

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TED, I'M HERE AT THE SITE
OF THIS YEAR'S CONTEST.

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ONLY DAYS FROM NOW, TEAMS FROM ALL
OVER THE AREA WILL COMPETE TO SEE

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WHICH AIRPLANE CAN
FLY THE FARTHEST.

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THE TWIST IS THAT EACH PLANE
MUST BE MADE COMPLETELY

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OUT OF EGG CARTONS.

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WE'LL HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE
EGGS-ACTLY HOW EACH TEAM SOLVES THE

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PROBLEMS OF FLIGHT.

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CAN AN AIRPLANE MADE OUT
OF EGG CARTONS REALLY FLY?

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WILL THE TREE HOUSE DETECTIVES
PLACE DEAD LAST AGAIN THIS YEAR?

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WE MAY NEVER KNOW.

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BACK TO YOU, TED.

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YEAH, WE KNOW ALL ABOUT THE
EGGS-TRAORDINARY COMPETITION.

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EVERYONE AT THE COMPETITION
KNOWS US AS THE BIG LOSERS.

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WE COME IN LAST PLACE EVERY YEAR.

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THIS IS THE ENTRY FROM LAST YEAR.

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LOOKS LIKE A WINNER COMPARED
TO MY ENTRY FROM LAST YEAR.

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WHAT DID YOU DO?

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I JUST STUCK A FUSELAGE
THROUGH THE EGG CARTON.

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IT DOESN'T EVEN FLY.

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YOU CAN LEARN A LOT
FROM YOUR FAILURES.

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EVEN THE WRIGHT BROTHERS,
WILBUR AND ORVILLE,

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HAD A FEW FAILURES BEFORE THEY
TOOK FLIGHT ON DECEMBER 17, 1903,

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IN KITTY HAWK, NORTH CAROLINA.

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I FOUND THESE FACTS ON NASA "WHY?"

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FILES WEBSITE.

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A LOT OF INVENTORS
ENTERED AVIATION CONTESTS.

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LIKE US?

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NOT EXACTLY LIKE US.

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BACK IN 1927, CHARLES LINDBERGH
WON THE ORTEIG PRIZE OF $25,000

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FOR BEING THE FIRST TO CROSS
THE ATLANTIC OCEAN IN A PLANE.

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HE FLEW FROM NEW YORK
TO PARIS, FRANCE.

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YOU SEE, WITHOUT THESE CONTESTS,

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WE MIGHT NOT HAVE THE ADVANCED
TECHNOLOGY OR THE AIRPLANES

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THAT WE HAVE RIGHT NOW.

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DON'T FORGET THE RACE TO SPACE.

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IF WE HADN'T COMPETED WITH RUSSIA,

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NASA MIGHT NOT HAVE SENT
THE FIRST MAN TO THE MOON.

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NOW THAT'S TRUE.

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I THINK WE NEED TO RESEARCH
THE HISTORY OF FLIGHT.

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REMEMBER WHAT WE LEARNED
ABOUT SCIENCE AS INQUIRY?

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RESEARCH IS IMPORTANT.

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LET'S SURF THE INTERNET.

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I'LL LET YOU IN ON
SOMETHING REALLY NEAT.

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NASA HAS A WEBSITE
ON HOW THINGS FLY.

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LOOK; HERE'S THE FUN FACT
FILE ON THE HISTORY OF FLIGHT.

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LET'S CLICK HERE.

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AND NOW AVIATION HISTORY.

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HERE'S DR. TEXTBOOK.

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HELLO.

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SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME, MAN
HAS LOOKED UP AT BIRDS WITH AWE

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AND HAS WONDERED,
"WHY CAN'T WE FLY?"

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MYTHOLOGY GIVES US THE STORY
OF ICARUS, WHO FLEW TOO CLOSE

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TO THE SUN, MELTING HIS WINGS
MADE OF FEATHERS AND WAX.

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IN THE 15TH CENTURY, LEONARDO
DA VINCI MADE OVER 150 DRAWINGS

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OF HIS IDEAS FOR A FLYING MACHINE.

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BUT IT WAS GEORGE CAYLEY

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WHO NOTICED HOW A BIRD'S
WINGS KEPT THEM IN THE AIR.

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HE MADE A NUMBER OF
VARIOUS GLIDERS,

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TESTING OUT DIFFERENT
WING SHAPES AND PATTERNS.

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WILBUR AND ORVILLE WRIGHT WROTE
LETTERS TO OCTAVE CHANUTE,

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WHO WAS DESIGNING
GLIDERS, AND HE HELPED THEM

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WITH THE FORCES OF FLIGHT.

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AFTER MANY TRIAL RUNS
WITH VARIOUS GLIDERS,

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THE WRIGHT BROTHERS MADE THE FIRST
SUCCESSFUL CONTROLLED POWERED

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FLIGHT WITH A PILOT
ON BOARD IN 1903.

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SO AS AN ODE TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO
MADE THE FIRST FLIGHT POSSIBLE,

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I WILL FLY ACROSS A
SAND DUNE IN MY WINGS.

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NOT A VERY GOOD IDEA.

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THIS HAS BEEN AVIATION HISTORY.

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THAT'S SO COOL.

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THE PIONEERS OF AVIATION
HAD A LOT OF CHALLENGES.

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I THINK WE NEED TO LEARN
ABOUT OUR CHALLENGES AND TRY

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TO WIN THE COMPETITION.

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BUT HOW DO WE THAT?

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I THINK WE NEED TO
LEARN HOW PLANES FLY.

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THE AIR AND SPACE
MUSEUM WOULD BE A START.

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LET'S SEE IF OUR PARENTS
CAN TAKE US.

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I FOUND OUR RESEARCH NOTEBOOKS,
SO WE CAN TAKE PLENTY OF NOTES.

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I ALSO FOUND THE GET UP AND
GO WORK SHEET ON THE "WHY?"

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FILES WEBSITE.

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THIS WILL BE JUST WHAT
I NEED TO KEEP TRACK

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OF WHAT WE LEARN ON THE FIELD TRIP.

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SO LET'S GET UP AND GO.

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THIS IS SO COOL.

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LOOK, THERE'S THE ORIGINAL
WRIGHT BROTHERS' PLANE.

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LOOK OVER THERE; THERE'S
THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS.

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OH, YEAH, THAT'S THE PLANE THAT
CHARLES LINDBERGH FLEW TO PARIS.

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HE WON $25,000.

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HI, CAN I HELP YOU?

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WE NEED TO LEARN MORE ABOUT
THE HISTORY OF FLIGHT.

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YOU MUST BE THE TREE
HOUSE DETECTIVES.

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WE MOST CERTAINLY ARE.

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I'M GENERAL JACK DAILEY,

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THE DIRECTOR OF THE SMITHSONIAN'S
NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM.

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CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE
HISTORY OF THE WRIGHTS' PLANE?

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THE WRIGHTS WERE THE FIRST TO SOLVE
THE TECHNICAL PROBLEMS OF FLIGHT.

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THESE TWO DEVELOPED THE FUNDAMENTAL
PRINCIPLES THAT ARE STILL

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IN PLACE TODAY, AND
THEY CHANGED OUR LIVES.

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WE KNOW THAT CONTESTS
PLAYED AN IMPORTANT PART

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IN THE HISTORY OF AVIATION.

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WHY IS THAT?

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COMPETITION IS IMPORTANT
NO MATTER WHAT WE'RE DOING,

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WHETHER PLAYING SOCCER OR TRYING
TO BUILD A BETTER AIRPLANE.

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IF YOU WANT TO BE THE BEST,
YOU HAVE TO WORK HARDER.

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THE RACE TO SPACE WAS
ANOTHER COMPETITION?

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IT WAS A RACE BETWEEN THE
U.S. AND THE SOVIET UNION.

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BUT WHAT STARTED AS A COMPETITION
HAS NOW TURNED INTO A PARTNERSHIP,

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WITH THE UNITED STATES, RUSSIA,

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AND OTHER COUNTRIES BUILDING
AN INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION.

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WE NEED TO LEARN ABOUT
FORCES OF FLIGHT.

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IS THERE A PLACE WE CAN EXPLORE?

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THERE SURE IS; IT'S
CALLED HOW THINGS FLY.

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KALI, THIS IS SO NEAT.

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I WONDER IF THESE CONTROLS
HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH LIFT.

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USE THE AILERONS, ELEVATOR,

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AND RUDDER TO CONTROL
ROLL, PITCH, AND YAW.

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HEY, BIANCA.

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I CAN SEE THE FOUR
FORCES OF FLIGHT WORKING.

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WE NEED TO GO.

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BUT I'M HAVING TOO MUCH FUN.

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GUESS WHERE WE WENT THIS WEEKEND?

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I DON'T KNOW; OUTER SPACE?

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FUNNY, DR. D. WE WENT TO
THE AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM.

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DID YOU SEE THE WRIGHTS' PLANE?

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YEAH, IT WAS SO COOL.

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DID YOU KNOW A GUST OF WIND CAME UP

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AND SENT THE FLYER
TUMBLING ACROSS THE SAND?

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IS THAT WHY IT NEVER FLEW AGAIN?

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THAT'S RIGHT; IT WAS DAMAGED.

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TODAY PLANES ARE BUILT DIFFERENTLY.

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WE LEARNED ABOUT THE
FOUR FORCES OF FLIGHT.

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WHAT ARE THE FOUR FORCES?

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LIFT PUSHES A PLANE UPWARD.

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WEIGHT IS EARTH'S
GRAVITY PULLING DOWN.

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THRUST, WHICH IS THE POWER TO
PUSH A PLANE THROUGH THE AIR.

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AND DRAG.

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WHY IS IT IMPORTANT WE
UNDERSTAND ALL FOUR FORCES?

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I WOULD GUESS YOU HAVE TO HAVE
ALL OF THEM TO MAKE A PLANE FLY.

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YES, THEY'RE ALL CONNECTED.

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CHANGING THE THRUST ALSO
AFFECTS THE LIFT AND THE DRAG.

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WE MUST FIRST EXAMINE
THEM INDIVIDUALLY.

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CAN WE START WITH
THE FORCE OF LIFT?

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SURE; WHAT PART OF THE PLANE
DO YOU THINK PROVIDES LIFT?

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I WOULD SAY THE WINGS.

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THE WINGS ARE DESIGNED
TO PUSH AIR DOWNWARD.

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THE AIR FLOWING OVER
THE TOP OF THE WING

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AND UNDERNEATH ARE
BOTH BENT DOWNWARD.

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THESE FAN BLADES ARE
JUST LIKE A WING.

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LOOK AT THE BLADES.

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SEE HOW THEY'RE ANGLED?

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WHY IS THAT?

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THE BLADES ARE ANGLED UPWARD
FROM THE DIRECTION OF THE MOTION.

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THIS ALLOWS THE BLADES
TO PUSH AIR DOWNWARD.

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HOW DO PLANE WINGS
COMPARE TO FAN BLADES?

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AS THE FAN BLADES SPIN, THEY CUT

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THROUGH THE AIR LIKE
AN AIRPLANE WING.

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TAKE A LOOK AT THIS AIRPLANE
THAT I GOT MANY YEARS AGO.

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NOTICE HOW THE WING
IS SLANTED UPWARD

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WITH THE FRONT EDGE
HIGHER THAN THE BACK.

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TURN ON THE FAN AND
SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

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THOSE FAN BLADES ARE
PUSHING A LOT OF AIR.

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HOW CAN WE INCREASE THE
AIR PUSHED DOWN BY THE FAN?

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IT COULD SPIN FASTER.

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A FASTER BLADE IS LIKE A WING
FLYING THROUGH THE AIR FASTER,

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PUSHING MORE AIR DOWN.

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WHY DOES A WING NEED
TO PUSH AIR DOWN?

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THAT'S WHAT PROVIDES LIFT.

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I DON'T GET IT.

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HOW DOES PUSHING AIR
DOWN CREATE LIFT?

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SIR ISAAC NEWTON SAID, "FOR
EVERY ACTION, THERE IS AN EQUAL

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AND OPPOSITE REACTION."

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SO WHEN THE WING PUSHES
THE AIR DOWNWARD,

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THE AIR IS PUSHING UP ON THE WING?

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CORRECT AGAIN.

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LET'S TRY AN EXPERIMENT.

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TIP THE FAN UP LIKE THIS,
AND PUT IT ON THESE SKATES.

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NOW, THE FAN'S GOING TO PUSH THE
AIR THIS WAY; THAT'S THE ACTION.

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AND THE AIR'S GOING TO PUSH THE FAN
THE OTHER WAY; THAT'S THE REACTION.

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ALL RIGHT.

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I BET THE PROBLEM WITH
OUR PLANE LAST YEAR WAS

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THAT WE DIDN'T HAVE
AN ANGLE ON THE WING.

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WE COULDN'T PUSH THE AIR
DOWNWARD AND GET AN UPWARD LIFT.

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WE NEED TO ANGLE THE WING
UP, AND IT WOULD WORK BETTER.

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I BELIEVE THE AIR WOULD PUSH UP ON
THIS MODEL PLANE AND GIVE IT LIFT,

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BUT IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE
AIR CAN GIVE LIFT

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TO SOMETHING AS BIG AS JETS.

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THEY WEIGH A LOT MORE, BUT I
GUESS THEIR WINGS ARE BIGGER.

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IT'S LIKE MAGIC, BUT
IT'S REAL SCIENCE.

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TO REALLY UNDERSTAND LIFT, YOU
NEED TO VISIT A WIND TUNNEL.

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WHY DON'T YOU CONTACT
LUTHER JENKINS OVER AT NASA?

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WOW, THIS IS REALLY NEAT.

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HAVE YOU SEEN A WIND TUNNEL?

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I'VE NEVER BEEN IN ONE,
BUT I'VE SEEN THEM ON TV.

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THIS IS ONE OF 30 WIND TUNNELS
AT NASA LANGLEY RESEARCH.

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WE FOUND OUT AT THE
AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM

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THAT THE WRIGHT BROTHERS BUILT
THEIR OWN WIND TUNNEL IN 1901.

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THEY COLLECTED DATA
TO BUILD A GLIDER.

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WHAT DO YOU USE WIND TUNNELS FOR?

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WE USE WIND TUNNELS TO
EXAMINE HOW THE AIR FLOWS

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OVER DIFFERENT OBJECTS
LIKE PLANES, CARS,

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WINGS, AND EVEN TIRES.

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THIS HELPS US UNDERSTAND HOW THEY
WILL PERFORM AND GIVES US INSIGHT

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SO WE CAN DEVELOP NEW DESIGNS.

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IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN SHOW ME?

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DR. D. SHOWED YOU HOW THE
ANGLE DEFLECTS THE AIR

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DOWN TO CREATE LIFT.

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I'LL SHOW YOU HOW AIR
FLOWS OVER A WING.

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THIS IS A DIFFERENT
WAY OF LOOKING AT LIFT.

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COME WITH ME.

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OKAY.

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WHAT DO YOU MEAN, YOU'LL
SHOW ME HOW AIR GOES

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OVER THE TOP OF THE WINGS?

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WE CAN SEE AIR?

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NO, SO WE USE SMOKE
TO VISUALIZE THE AIR.

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SMOKE PARTICLES THAT STRIKE
THE FRONT OF THE WING,

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SOME TRAVEL OVER THE UPPER
SURFACE AND SOME ALONG THE LOWER.

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THE SMOKE IS GOING
FASTER OVER THE TOP.

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THE CURVATURE OF THE UPPER
SURFACE CAUSES THE PARTICLES

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TO TRAVEL FASTER OVER
THE UPPER SURFACE.

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THE FORCE APPLIED BY THESE
FASTER-MOVING PARTICLES

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ON THE UPPER SURFACE IS LOWER

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THAN THE FORCE APPLIED
ON THE LOWER SURFACE.

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THE DIFFERENCE IN
FORCES CREATES LIFT

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AND CAUSES THE PLANE
TO STAY IN THE SKY.

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I WONDER HOW BIG AIRPLANES
STAY IN THE AIR.

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THEY'RE SO LARGE.

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THAT'S TRUE, BUT THEY
ALSO HAVE LARGE WINGS,

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AND AIR HAS MORE SURFACE
AREA OVER WHICH TO TRAVEL.

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THAT GENERATES MORE LIFT
AND KEEPS THEM IN THE SKY.

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WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO TEST WINGS?

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SO ENGINEERS WILL
KNOW WHICH ONES TO USE

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FOR THEIR PARTICULAR
DESIGN OR APPLICATION.

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THAT SAVES TIME AND MONEY.

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IT WAS SO INTERESTING SEEING HOW
THE SMOKE WENT OVER THE WINGS.

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I HOPE IT HELPS.

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I'M SURE YOU'LL DO
WELL IN THE CONTEST.

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THANKS.

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I MADE A NEW PLANE FOR THE CONTEST.

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IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO
DESIGN YOUR OWN PLANE,

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CLICK ON THE PROBLEM
BOARD IN THE TREE HOUSE.

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HAVE FUN.

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THIS PLANE LOOKS BETTER
THAN LAST YEAR'S ENTRY.

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I WONDER WHY IT GOES UP LIKE THAT.

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WE MADE THE SAME PLANE LAST YEAR.

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IT DIDN'T WIN, BUT IT
DIDN'T FLY UPWARDS.

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IT LOOKS LIKE ALL THE
VARIABLES ARE THE SAME.

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DO YOU USE SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY
TO FIGURE OUT PROBLEMS?

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WHEN YOU'RE CONDUCTING AN
EXPERIMENT, IT'S VERY IMPORTANT

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TO KEEP ALL THE VARIABLES THE SAME.

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LET ME SEE YOUR PLANE.

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I WANT TO COMPARE
IT TO LAST YEAR'S.

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I HAVE MY NOTEBOOK OF THE
EXPERIMENTS WE DID LAST YEAR.

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LET'S USE OUR PROBLEM
BOARD TO GET ORGANIZED.

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THIS IS ACTUALLY FUN
AND EASY TO USE.

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WE KNOW THE AIRFLOW UNDER
THE WING MOVES SLOWER

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AND CREATES A HIGHER PRESSURE.

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WE KNOW THAT AIRFLOW UNDER THE
WING PUSHES THE WING UPWARD

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AND HELPS PROVIDE LIFT.

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WE NEED TO KNOW IF THE SIZE OF
THE PLANE'S WINGS AFFECTS LIFT.

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WE NEED TO KNOW MORE
ABOUT THE THRUST AND DRAG.

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WHERE DO WE NEED TO GO?

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MAYBE THE "WHY?"

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FILES CLUB CAN HELP US.

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I LOVE TALKING TO
OTHER CLUB MEMBERS.

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WE ARE ONE TEAM, WORKING TOGETHER,
TRYING TO SOLVE A PROBLEM.

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HAS ANYONE DONE AN
EXPERIMENT ON HOW THE SIZE

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OF THE WINGS AFFECTS LIFT?

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I