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Centennial of Flight:
Flying through Time

real player flying through time screen

View the Video with Real Player

Innovations in Aviation and NASA's Contributions:

This table lists the clips in the Video. NASA's research inputs are listed when they are relevant.


The Biplanes

1903 - 19

Wright Flyer

First powered aircraft

Glen Curtis Pusher

Momo plane

The Monoplanes
1908 - Present


This plane's design included many National Advisory Committee on Aviation, NACA, (NACA was the predecessor of NASA.) innovations. These include the NACA Cowl that enclosed the engine. This plane was a large bomber that was very fast.

Ford/Stout Tri motor


The Spirit of Saint Louis

This plane piloted by Charles Lindbergh made the first solo transatlantic flight. It's design incorporated propeller research done at NACA Langley.

Propellor plane

The Modern Propeller Planes
1933 - Present

Boeing 247

The significance of this plane is that most of what we consider to be modern features are brought together in this one design (Up entail then, these features existed on different airplanes.) : Cantilever wings, retractable landing gear, NACA engine cowlings (reduce drag), controllable pitch propellers, engine superchargers, all-metal stressed-skin construction, and flush rivets.

Lockheed Constellation This plane was the last of the big engine airliners. Amelia Earhart's plane.

The Warplanes

P51 H The innovations were: A thrust recovery radiator that minimized drag and NACA laminar flow airfoils.
P61 Black Widow night flyer, WWII, includes the development of modern high lift system, fowler-flaps over much of span, spoilers used for flight path and roll control, short ailerons.

The Jets

B47 1st major swept American wing
F86 NACA Ames research, swept wing

The Quest for Speed

1947 - 1970

X-1 Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier in this plane.
X-2 The Bell X-2 rocket plane sets an altitude record at over 126,000 feet.
Skyrocket D558 The first aircraft to break Mach 2, or twice the speed of sound.
X-15 All time altitude record of 354,000 feet.and record speed of Mach 6.7
Concorde High lift geometry
SR 71 High temperature skin, metallic hot structure, ejector nozzles, variable conical inlets, actively cooled ,geometry
XB-70 Mach 3 bomber developed in NASA wind tunnels, uses compression lift, Variable geometry.

Vertical Lift Research
1940 - Present

Convair Pogo Delta wing, tail sitter
X14 Vertical Short Take Off and Landing,VSTOL, (deflecting nozzles)
XV - 15 Tiltrotor NASA innovation in rotor control for stability and control
LEM Trainer  
X-15 All time altitude record of 354,000 feet.and record speed of Mach 6.7
AV 8B Vertical lift

The Modern Military Jets
1970 - Present


Variable sweep wing, inertial navigation system, terrain-following
F14 Variable geometry
AFTI F16 F-16 light weight fighter
hi  mat

Continued Flight Research 1975 - Present

Kuiper Airborne Observatory NASA carries infrared telescope above much of the Earth's atmosphere
Hi Mat Highly maneuverable aircraft technology. Remotely piloted.
ER2 High altitude atmospheric research
X29 High angle of attack composite aeroelastic structure, forward swept wing
F-8 Digital flyby wire.
Pathfinder Solar powered

The Lifting Bodies
1964 - Present

M2-F2 Direct result of NASA research into lifting reentry and ability to land a reentry vehicle rather than recover in ocean with parachute
X24B Entry Vehicle with landing gear (first to land on paved runway)
Shuttle Orbiter Mach 25.



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