This book introduces the history of the invention of airplanes, including Leonardo da Vinci's ornithopter, Joseph-Michel and Jacque-Étienne Montgolfier's hot air balloons, Sir George Cayley and Otto Lilienthal's work with gliders, Orville and Wilbur Wright's first flight, Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart's flights across the Atlantic, and the work of modern record breakers Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager. Other chapters delve into airplane parts, from wings and ailerons to landing gear and jet engines, as well as how these parts along with concepts such as lift, gravity, thrust, and drag help keep an airplane flying. Fun facts discuss black boxes, autopilot, and the requirements for a U.S. pilot's license. Other sections cover regimes of flight, mach numbers, and different kinds of airplanes, such as monoplanes, biplanes, floatplanes, and sailplanes, as well as the pilots, crews, flight attendants, and airport workers who run this form of transportation. The book also addresses the airplane's impact on society as swift carriers of passengers and products, as well as disease and pollution. Full-color photographs, informative diagrams, glossary words in bold, a graphic timeline, and an index enhance this engaging, easy-to-read text about airplanes, an everyday invention that makes travel faster and puts the world at our fingertips. Checkerboard Library is an imprint of ABDO Publishing Company.