Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sat, 21st Jul 2012

How Powered Flight got off the Ground

First successful flight of the Wright Flyer, by the Wright brothers. (c) John T. Daniels

From the first flight to supersonic air-travel was achieved in under 50 years. To discover what made it all possible we look at the advances in technology, engineering and materials that were needed, and the social and political pressures that drove the field forward since the first tentative steps toward take-off in the 1870s...

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 00:53 - From The Birth of Flight to the Great War

    From the efforts that preceded the Wright brother's official first sustained heavier-than-air-flight, through to the end of the Great War, we track the technological changes that kept mankind in the air...

  • 20:33 - World War Two and the Jet Engine

    World War Two saw huge developments in aero engines, from the Merlin that powered the Hurricanes and Spitfires deployed in the Battle of Britain, through to the first deployment of the jet engine...

  • 32:08 - How a Jet Engine Works

    How do jet engines actually work? One simple way to think about it is Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow. The engine sucks air in the front, compresses it, adds fuel which burns, expands and is blown out of the back, producing thrust and pushing the plane along...

  • 39:09 - Materials Maketh the Jet Engine

    The conditions in a Jet engine - very high temperatures & incredible forces - are very challenging, requiring specialist materials. We walk along a Trent engine to find out what materials are needed throughout the engine...

  • 46:00 - Turning Down Take Off Noise

    As air traffic grows, the noise of aircraft is becoming an increasingly important problem. To find out what manufacturers are doing to solve the problem, Ben Valsler has been to speak to Rolls Royce’s Senior Project Engineer for Noise, Joe Walsh, and their Chief Noise Specialis...

  • 53:32 - Jumping Jets! - The Joint Strike Fighter

    Military developments have taken the jet engine in a new direction. Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft can operate without a runway, but need some complex technology to make it happen...



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