Take an unforgettable tour through the story of powered flight. Gallery recommended for students aged 5 and over.
With real aircraft suspended overhead, smaller models, aviation clothing, and aero-engines, the gallery offers opportunities to follow several cross-curricular themes. Objects on display include:
- A full-sized replica of the Wright Flyer
- Amy Johnson’s famous aircraft Jason
- A Spitfire
- A Jump Jet
- A complete slice of a Boeing 747 airliner
This page is for educational groups; for general visitor information, please see the main gallery page.
- Students can observe and record the range of materials used in aircraft to establish that early aircraft were made from materials such as wood and cotton, which over time these were replaced by metals and plastics. For example, the first hot air balloon was made of cotton and paper and the first gliders from cotton and wood. More modern aircraft are made of metal, plastics and glass.
- Students can think about the advantages and disadvantages of using certain materials (e.g. paper balloons may catch fire) and why they think these materials were chosen.
- After their visit students can classify the materials they’ve seen in the Museum according to properties such as mass, colour, texture, hardness, flexibility and strength (depending on their ability).
Students can observe and record information about how the shape of flying machines and their components affect how well they fly:
- Wings—shape, number and position
- Propellers—shape and number of baldest
- Body of aeroplane—becoming more streamlined
- Tail—shape and position
- Balloons—hot air and barrage shapes
Students can explore how the design of aircraft has changed to help steering and control direction:
- Fixed and adjustable tails
- Pulley systems to move flaps
- Fixed wings and adjustable flaps
- Position of mass of the aircraft (suited to older or more able students)
Students can explore how clothing and footwear were adapted as aircraft were developed to fly higher and faster:
- Purpose of the clothing e.g. headwear such as earmuffs and headphones
- Materials used
- Colour of the clothing
The exhibits can also be used to think about the different ways that aircraft were and are powered, and the impact of the World Wars on aircraft developments.
The gallery can also be used to find out about the inventions and achievements of aviation pioneers such as the Wright brothers, Amy Johnson, and Alcock and Brown.
Across all these themes students can:
- Observe and record changes over a period of time, and discuss reasons for these changes.
- Focus on similarities and differences between two or more exhibits.
- Discuss the reasons why they are the same or different.
- Record their observations using tables, lists, timelines, drawings, writing poems or describing what they see verbally.
Other things to see and do
A Beautiful Planet 3D (U) – school info
Experience life on the International Space Station as you are taken on a journey around our home planet. Recommended for ages 7 and over.
Feel the Force Show – school info
A dynamic show about forces and magnets, recommended for ages 7 to 11.
Amy Johnson – school info
Discover the story of the 1930s flying sensation. Recommended for ages 5 to 11.