Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Jet Plane: How It Works

 Jet Plane:  How It Works
by David Macaulay
Macmillan, 2012.  32 pgs.  Nonfiction.

     This second volume in David Macaulay's "How It Works" series takes on the riddle of how passenger jets manage to fly. His illustrations, as always, are flawless, in this book designed to give beginning and newly-independent readers vocabulary and pictures to understand the mechanics and physics of large aircraft in flight. For the most part, everything is clearly explained, but a couple of items raised questions:  Pictures and text explain how air is sucked into the front of each engine, then compressed into a combustion chamber where it is mixed with jet fuel and burned, but it doesn't tell what sets the mixture on fire; also, the book explains that wing design makes the air move faster on top of the wing than below.  "The faster air pulls up.  The slower air pushes up..  This creates a force called lift."  It would be helpful to know that the difference in air pressure--less above, more beneath, is what creates that dynamic.  Still, there is much useful information here, perfectly suited to introducing youngsters to one of our more interesting and useful technologies.

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