This experience is optimized for Internet Explorer version 9 and above.

Please upgrade your browser

Priority Code

Cancel
New Releases
New Releases
  • The Ottoman Empire
    Course  |  The Ottoman Empire

    Professor Kenneth W. Harl, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, Audio Download, DVD, CD

    Join Professor Kenneth W. Harl for The Ottoman Empire: 36 enlightening lectures that investigate the nature of Ottoman identity, the achievements and oddities of the sultan’s court, and stories of confrontation and cooperation with the West.

    View Lecture List (36)
    36 Lectures  |  The Ottoman Empire
    Lecture Titles (36)
    • 1
      Sublime Porte: Visions of the Ottoman Empire
      How should one consider the vast history of the Ottoman Empire? Professor Harl sets the stage for the lectures to come with a consideration of key themes in the empire’s journey from “Sublime Porte” to “Sick Man of Europe” – as well as the distorting images of Orientalism. x
    • 2
      Seljuk Turks in Asia Minor
      Ottoman sultans traced their origins to the Oghuz Turks of the Central Eurasian steppes, whose nomadic ways of life were transformed by Islam. Follow along as the subsequent Seljuk Turks evolve from raiders to conquerors–and spark conflict with Western Europe’s religious pilgrims. x
    • 3
      The Islamization of Asia Minor
      First, learn how the Seljuk sultans created an Islamic Turkish Anatolia, which would become the heartland of future Ottoman sultans. Then, explore Seljuk developments in architecture, decorative art, and religion – including domed mosques, medresses (religious schools), and “whirling dervishes.” x
    • 4
      Ottoman Sultans of Bursa
      Meet the sultans who transformed the Ottoman sultanate into an imperial state. Among these: Orhan, who made Bursa the state’s capital; Murad I and Bayezid I, who incorporated Asia Minor into the Ottoman state; and “the Thunderbolt,” who forged an empire of tributaries in the Balkans and Anatolia. x
    • 5
      Defeat and Recovery, 1402–1451
      The defeat of Sultan Bayezid by Tamerlane at the Battle of Angora revealed the fragile nature of the nascent Ottoman sultanate. Focus on the empire’s recovery under Mehmed I Çelebi and Murad II, who made the empire into a bureaucratic monarchy and defeated the Hungarians at the Battle of Varna. x
    • 6
      Mehmet the Conqueror, 1451–1481
      Mehmet the Conqueror made the Ottoman sultanate a leading Muslim power by 1481. In this lecture, investigate his remarkable rule, which included the conquest of Constantinople, the remodeling of the Hagia Sophia as a mosque, and the construction of the grand, walled mini-city of Topkapı. x
    • 7
      Selim the Grim and the Conquest of Cairo
      In 1512, Selim emerged victorious from the ashes of a civil war and executed all challenges to his rule (earning him the sobriquet “the Grim”). Go inside Selim’s military campaigns against Iran, Syria, and Egypt, which helped make the Ottoman Empire virtually synonymous with the “house of Islam.” x
    • 8
      Suleiman the Magnificent, 1520–1566
      Suleiman the Magnificent presided over the zenith of the Ottoman Empire. You’ll learn how, during his 46-year reign, he expanded civil bureaucracy, waged a naval war in the Mediterranean against Habsburg Spain, and also altered the imperial succession–sowing what some historians consider the seeds of the empire’s downfall. x
    • 9
      Sultans in Topkapı, 1566–1648
      Turn now to a period of decline, most notable for the emergence of the harem as a powerful political institution. Meet sultans including Murad III, a patron of the arts (especially miniaturist painting) and Ahmet I, an ineffective 13-year-old who presided over the “Sultanate of Women.” x
    • 10
      The Sultan-Caliph and His Servants
      Ottoman sultans played two roles: as sultan/warrior and as the caliph of Sunni Islam. Here, unpack the role of the sultan in the Ottoman Empire, including his relationship with the ulema (religious experts), his central administration (called the Porte"), and with his viziers." x
    • 11
      Timariots, Peasants, and Pastoralists
      Between 1500 and 1800, the Ottoman Empire spread across more than 1 million square miles–but economic activity varied from region to region. Discover how groups like pastoralists and the Muslim gentry (timariots) played their own critical roles in the drama and resiliency of the rural Ottoman economy. x
    • 12
      Trade, Money, and Cities
      Trade was vital to the Ottoman Empire – as well as a cause for its decline from “Porte” to “Sick Man of Europe.” Trace some of the empire’s most prominent trade routes, including the iconic Silk Road, as well as the British penetration of Ottoman markets in 1838. x
    • 13
      Arabs under the Ottoman Caliph
      For 300 years, Ottoman Sultans ruled the majority of Arabs. How did “the Porte” successfully administer the diverse Arab provinces under its control? How did “the Porte” respect Islamic traditions? Why were the Arabs so loyal to the empire up until the early 19th century? x
    • 14
      Christians and Jews under the Porte
      Under the Ottomans, Christian and Jewish subjects were classified as dhimmi (“people of the book”) and were afford legal protection and the right to practice their faith. Explore daily life in some of the Christian and Jewish communities (millet) scattered across the empire. x
    • 15
      Sunni Islam and Ottoman Civilization
      Go deeper inside the details of Ottoman civilization. Among the topics you'll explore are the transformation of Turkish into a new literary language; the importance of calligraphy and miniaturist painting; intellectual developments in history and geography; and, finally, the cultural influence of the Sufis. x
    • 16
      Ottoman Constantinople
      What was Constantinople like under Ottoman control? Professor Harl shows how the empire became a veritable paradise among Muslim cities, with markets and mosque complexes, social activities and public spaces, and the grandeur of Topkapı, which you’ll see through the eyes of French Ambassadors sent in 1536. x
    • 17
      The Sultan at War: The Ottoman Army
      Sultans between the reigns of Murad II and Mehmet IV commanded one of the finest armies in Eurasia. Discover how the Ottoman imperial army matched Europe's best, how money was raised to meet the rising costs of war, why the Ottoman army suffered decisive defeats, and more. x
    • 18
      Sultan and Shah: Challenge of Safavid Iran
      The Ottoman Sultan and the Safavid Shah clashed frequently over strategic lands between the two civilizations. First, learn why Safavid Iran was the religious and ideological rival of “the Porte.” Then, examine five major wars the Ottomans waged against their rivals between 1514 and 1722. x
    • 19
      Sultan and Emperor: War in the West
      Visit the empire’s northern border in Europe to explore its military clashes with the West. Why was fighting in Central Europe so indecisive? Why did the Long-Turkish War prove so embarrassing for three sultans? How did “the Porte” come to ease tensions with the Habsburgs after 1605? x
    • 20
      Sultan and Venice: War in the Mediterranean
      Learn why Ottoman success at sea in the 1500s stemmed from Suleiman's strategic vision and the skills of his admirals. Along the way, you'll investigate Suleiman's war against Venice, the Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and battles with another European naval power: Portugal. x
    • 21
      Köprülü Viziers and Imperial Revival
      Professor Harl reveals how a dynasty of Grand Viziers and bureaucrats rescued the Ottoman Empire from factions and court intrigue, then guided the empire through various crises between 1683 and 1699, helping to end the ruinous war against Venice, as well as end political instability within the House of Osman. x
    • 22
      The Empire at Bay, 1699–1798
      In this lecture, learn why the 1699 Treaty of Karlowitz is a turning point in Ottoman history–another that marked the empire’s steady decline into the “Sick Man of Europe.” Central to this lecture: the Ottoman military’s engagement with a powerful new Christian foe: Catherine the Great. x
    • 23
      Napoleon Invades Ottoman Egypt
      France's occupation of Egypt from 1798 to 1801 compromised the restoration of Ottoman rule in the country. And, as you'll learn, Napoleon's invasion also marked the first instance of the Muslim Middle East's encounter with modernity and political reforms based on the principles of the French Revolution. x
    • 24
      Crisis: Muhammad Ali and Balkan Nationalists
      Learn how Muhammad Ali exploited the confusion in Egypt after Napoleon's departure and, in 35 years, became the first successful Muslim ruler to transform Egypt into the literary and intellectual center of the Arabic-speaking world. Also, consider several Serbian and Greek revolts that rocked the Ottoman Empire. x
    • 25
      Tanzimat and Modernization, 1839–1876
      First, examine how the reforms of professional ministers led by Mustafa Reşid Paşa ushered in a massive reorganization (Tanzimat) of both the Ottoman State and Ottoman society. Then, consider how Tanzimat widened divisions within Ottoman society and failed to make the empire a member of the Concert of Europe. x
    • 26
      Defeat and Retreat: The Sick Man of Europe
      How did the Crimean War vindicate the reformers of Tanzimat? Why was the Treaty of Paris a strategic victory for “the Porte”—that came at a high price? What impact did the empire’s catastrophic defeat during the Russo-Turkish War have on its future with the Concert of Europe? x
    • 27
      The Sultan Returns: Abdül Hamid II, 1876–1908
      On December 23, 1876, Sultan Abdül Hamid II proclaimed the first Ottoman constitution. Eleven months later, it was suspended, along with its Parliament. Go inside this period of continued reform, which tied “the Porte” to an alliance with Germany and ultimately led to Sultan Hamid II’s downfall. x
    • 28
      Constitutional Reform, 1908–1913
      Turn now to the Second Constitutional Period, which raised hopes for imperial recovery and reform but ended with the domination of power by the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP). Thus emerged a shadow government that became an unintended dress rehearsal for future one-party dictatorships. x
    • 29
      War in Libya and the Balkans, 1911–1913
      Discover why the Ottoman government was ill-prepared for both the Italo-Turkish War and the First Balkan War. Experience its stunning defeat by the improbable alliance of Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria. Learn why the Treaty of Constantinople almost assured the outbreak of another Balkan war. x
    • 30
      The Road to World War I
      Using recent research (based on Russian and Ottoman archives), learn why the Ottoman Empire entered the First World War. What role did the defeats of 1911–1913 play in the road to war? Why did Ottoman ministers negotiate favorable terms with Germany in exchange for entrance into the war? x
    • 31
      The Empire at Total War, 1914–1916
      Though it entered the First World War enthusiastically, the Ottoman Empire was not prepared for total war. In this lecture, focus on the empire's offensives against the Russian Caucasus Army and the Suez Canal, as well as its struggle against an impending British invasion in the Dardanelles. x
    • 32
      Ottoman Collapse, 1916–1918
      By 1916, the Ottoman Empire was fighting for its very survival. Professor Harl reveals the impact of the Russian Revolution on the war, the steady deterioration of the empire over the course of the fighting, and the army's ultimate collapse, which came suddenly and unexpectedly, in late 1918. x
    • 33
      Mustafa Kemal, Atatürk
      Meet the “father of the Turks”: Mustafa Kemal. By following his life and career, you’ll come away from this fascinating lecture with a well-rounded understanding of how he came to play such a decisive role in the modernization of Turkish civilization and the creation of the Turkish Republic. x
    • 34
      Casualties of War and Ethnic Cleansing
      The best estimate is that a total of 800,000 Armenians died between 1915 and 1921. In this powerful lecture, examine why the destruction of the Armenian community has come to be seen as the first in a series of similar events that would wreak havoc on the 20th century. x
    • 35
      The Emergence of the Turkish Republic
      Under Mustafa Kemal, Islamic tradition was seen as an obstacle to joining European civilization. How did Kemal and the Turkish Parliament approach the daunting task of transforming the imperial heartland into the Turkish Republic? How are Turks today wrestling with their Ottoman legacy? x
    • 36
      Nation-States, Islam, and the Ottoman Legacy
      Conclude with an insightful look at how the legacy of the Ottoman Empire still influences the Middle East–and will continue to do so in the future. Each of the empire’s successor states, you’ll learn, has its own perceptions of this legacy, and its own lessons learned from history. x
  • The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America

    James Currie, Birding Enthusiast

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    Birding offers direct contact with one of our primary treasures of wildlife. In this course, you’ll learn core elements of birding and methods for observing birds in the field. You’ll also take a panoramic look at the bird species of North America, and visit 23 of the top North American birding sites. These lectures are your doorway to an endlessly rewarding pursuit, and a lifetime of enjoyment and discovery.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Birding Basics: Bird Origins and Taxonomy
      Begin by delving into the history of birdwatching in the U.S., from the early naturalists of the 18th century to today's highly organized activity. Then look into the origins of birds, and how they are linked evolutionarily to dinosaurs and early reptiles. Finally, explore bird taxonomy, and how their scientific classification aids us in identifying them in the field. x
    • 2
      Basic Bird Anatomy
      Investigate the anatomy of birds, and how understanding anatomical features aids us in identification. Then learn about the fascinating range of bird feathers, and their different functions. Observe how understanding the flight patterns of birds helps identify them in the field. Last, compare two common birds, as an exercise in using the knowledge you've learned so far. x
    • 3
      Size, Shape, and Color as Birding Tools
      Look first at three physical tools that you can use right away to become a more effective birder. Consider how familiarity with the shape or silhouette of bird families, as well as bird size, aid you in focusing in on exact species. Study the color factors of pigment and keratin, as they produce the dazzling range of bird coloration, and investigate color as an identification tool. x
    • 4
      Bird Distribution, Status, and Endemism
      Take account of three further aids for bird identification. See how charting birds' distribution or geographical range provides much useful information about specific species. Grasp the benefits of knowing a bird's status, or abundance vs. rarity, and how status can change. Also study the factor of endemism, where birds are limited to one specific region, and the uses of this information. x
    • 5
      Habitat and Season as Birding Tools
      Explore the North American habitats of forest, grasslands, desert, sagebrush, chaparral, and tundra, distinguishing their specific features and the amazing birds that are native to each of these environments. Add to this knowledge by investigating the roles of habitat specialization, the seasons, and migration patterns as they help us in identifying bird species. x
    • 6
      Introduction to Birding Optics
      This lecture discusses the core optical tools that aid us in observing birds in the field. Study the parts of a pair of binoculars, and the pros and cons of different types of binoculars. Learn how to use binoculars for birding, highlighting matters such as magnification, field of view, and depth of field. Also take account of spotting scopes, and how they provide detail that binoculars can't. x
    • 7
      Tactics for Better Birding
      Today, review a range of methods for attracting birds, in the field and at home. In both places, consider the use of stealth and concealment techniques, for observing while remaining unobserved. Study the remarkable ability of sounds to attract birds, and the use of water, plants, and feeders in your yard. Also learn about important ways to record your observations. x
    • 8
      Using Bird Behavior to Identify Birds
      Look into six categories of bird behavior, as they provide vital information for identification. See how individual species are distinguished by typical or unique behavioral traits. Study the distinctive feeding habits of many species, and how we can recognize species from flight and flocking behavior. End by exploring the extraordinary mating and nesting customs of North American birds. x
    • 9
      Understanding Variations in Plumage
      Plumage variation in a single bird reveals much useful information. First, take account of plumage differences based on sex, and seasonal plumage changes. Then investigate the remarkable range of age-related plumage variation in birds. Learn how birds molt (shed and replace plumage), and how hybrid species, as well as genetic and environmental factors, pose challenges for identification. x
    • 10
      Birding by Ear
      Study the physics and biology of avian sounds, which underlie the rich range of birdsong heard in the field. Discover how birds learn to vocalize, and how bird songs and calls are used for a remarkable spectrum of communication. Look at mimicry in birds, ways to use recordings to attract birds, and how digital technology can teach us more about bird vocalization. x
    • 11
      Essentials of Bird Migration
      Migration seasons provide excellent opportunities to sight unfamiliar bird species. Here, uncover the evolutionary origins of migration, and why birds migrate. Study the triggers and geographical patterns of migration, and the four principal “flyways” (migration zones) of North America. Learn how to maximize your sightings of migrating birds, and how technology can aid this. x
    • 12
      Birding at Night
      Some additional birding skills are needed for night viewing of birds. Learn about equipment for night birding, ways of locating nocturnal birds, and approaches to viewing migrating birds at night. Then investigate the fascinating range of night birds, encompassing the great diversity of owls, as well as species such as night-herons, nighthawks, and nightjars. x
    • 13
      Pelagic Birding
      Open sea birding adds another exciting dimension to birdwatching. Begin with an introduction to sea trips for birding, covering types of excursions and vessels, equipment, and important logistical and safety information. Preview the remarkable birds you'll see, from the mysterious albatross to petrels, tropicbirds, pelicans, gulls, puffins, and the best places to embark from to see them. x
    • 14
      Waterbirds, Shorebirds, and Game Birds
      In the first of six lectures on the bird families of North America, study four groups of birds that most people will find close to home. Begin with waterfowl, birds that swim in fresh water or near the ocean shore. Continue with wading birds, with their distinct physical profile; shorebirds, a vast group which includes sandpipers; and upland game birds. x
    • 15
      Diurnal Raptors
      Now travel into the world of these iconic and alluring birds of prey, and their distinguishing features, ranges, and behaviors. Learn about New World vultures, including the magnificent California condor. Also encounter the osprey, kites, eagles, hawks, falcons, kestrels, and the crested caracara. Consider the challenges of raptor-watching, and their unusual history with humans. x
    • 16
      From Doves to Kingfishers
      Here, study several diverse groups of birds, ranging from the familiar to the exotic. Explore the surprising variety of pigeons and doves, and trace the sad demise of the passenger pigeon. Note the presence of “introduced” parrots in the U.S., and discover the range of cuckoos, anis, woodpeckers, trogons, swifts, hummingbirds, and kingfishers that flourish across North America. x
    • 17
      Passerines: From Flycatchers to Thrushes
      Begin to uncover the huge spectrum of Passerines (perching or songbirds). Start with the flycatchers, aerialists adept at catching insects in midair, and the shrikes, rare songbirds with a raptor lifestyle. Within this far-ranging lecture, encounter bird families such as the crows and jays, magpies, larks, swallows, chickadees, wrens, dippers (the only aquatic songbirds), and thrushes. x
    • 18
      Passerines: From Thrashers to Warblers
      Continue with the astonishing variety of North American songbirds. Learn about birds that mimic, the mockingbirds and catbird, and the thrashers, with their namesake feeding behavior. Track the striking bulbuls, the starlings, pipits, wagtails, waxwings, longspurs, and snow buntings, and finish with the vast array of warbler species, and the challenges they pose to identification. x
    • 19
      Passerines: From Tanagers to Finches
      Today, complete your review of the Passerines (songbirds). Beginning with the seed-eating towhees, explore the many varieties of New World sparrows, the juncos, and Old World buntings. Then study the tanagers, cardinals, dickcissels, grosbeaks, and vivid New World buntings, before concluding with families such as the meadowlarks, blackbirds, grackles, orioles, finches, and crossbills. x
    • 20
      Photography for Birders
      Lay a foundation for fine bird photography, starting with the basics of aperture, shutter speed, ISO (light sensitivity), and focus. Investigate the use of natural light at different times of the day, and the best equipment for photographing birds. Learn how to approach birds and capture them on camera, and consider the advantages of digiscoping (photography through a spotting scope). x
    • 21
      Birding Sites in Eastern North America
      Learn about eleven of the best birding destinations in the Eastern U.S. and Canada. Among them, pay visits to Maine's Monnegan Island, a stopping place for a huge variety of migrants; Cape May, New Jersey, a locus of great birding sites and a haunt of famed birders; and Ohio's Magee Marsh, a legendary birding spot which hosts 338 bird species. x
    • 22
      Birding Sites in Western North America
      Among twelve top Western birding sites, visit the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, nesting site of forty million seabirds; California's Point Reyes National Seashore, which hosts a massive 490 species; the Grand Canyon, a Globally Important Bird Area; and a Texas park that sees a million migrating raptors each fall. x
    • 23
      Birds and People
      Contemplate the deep and long-term interactions between birds and humans. Beginning in ancient times, explore the roles birds have played in diverse civilizations, and how birds have benefited people in ways ranging from hunting to pest control. In today's world, take account of citizen science efforts, bird banding, and other ways birders can contribute to scientific knowledge. x
    • 24
      Birding Ethics and Conservation
      Consider guidelines for ethical birding, based in respect for fellow birders and non-birders alike. Conclude with a far-reaching look at matters affecting bird welfare, at both the individual and species level. Review current environmental factors that endanger birds, and actions you can take, both individually and through organizations, to safeguard our precious bird species. x
  • The Science of Flight
    Course  |  The Science of Flight

    Professor James W. Gregory, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    Taught by Professor James Gregory of Ohio State University, with commentary by Smithsonian curators and examples from the National Air and Space Museum, this course is a treasure trove for all who wonder where lift comes from, how a pilot flies a plane, what air traffic controllers do, and many other things about flight, including how rockets and orbits work. Extensive graphics make the concepts clear.

    View Lecture List (29)
    29 Lectures  |  The Science of Flight
    Lecture Titles (29)
    • 1
      Fundamentals of Flight: Gliding
      How did two world-class pilots coax their glider to a new altitude record? Focus on this feat as a lesson in the key principles of winged flight—including angle of attack, lift, drag, thrust, and weight. Also explore “the miracle on the Hudson,” when airline pilot Chesley Sullenberger glided his jet to an emergency water landing. Close your first lesson with an investigation of the control inputs: yaw, roll, and pitch. x
    • 2
      Balloons, Buoyancy, and the Atmosphere
      Balloons were the first vehicles to fly and Archimedes' principle is the secret of their lift-carrying power. Use the ideal gas law to determine air density and the hydrostatic equation to chart air pressure versus altitude. Then apply these concepts to lighter-than-air craft to learn how the Breitling Orbiter balloon was able to circumnavigate the globe non-stop. x
    • 3
      Takeoff: How Wings Produce Lift
      Lift is the fundamental force involved in winged flight. It is also fraught with misunderstanding. Debunk a popular but incorrect explanation of lift, known as the equal-time theory. Then gain a deep appreciation for the power of air flowing around an airfoil at differing angles of attack. Also examine Albert Einstein's misguided attempt to design a better airfoil. x
    • 4
      Drag Trade-Offs and Boundary-Layer Turbulence
      Focus on parasitic drag, a byproduct of moving an aircraft through the air, which has no practical benefit and is therefore like a parasite. Zero in on two aspects of parasitic drag: skin friction and pressure. Observe how these phenomena arise and how they can be reduced, which is a key goal of aircraft design. Learn about laminar flow as well as golf ball design. x
    • 5
      Stall Events and Lift-Induced Drag
      Aerodynamic stall occurs when lift suddenly decreases, causing drag to rise steeply. Consider the role of stall in several notable air accidents, and see a demonstration in which Professor Gregory deliberately pilots a plane through a stall, showing how to recover. Also look at technological measures to combat stall and the problem of induced drag. x
    • 6
      Wind Tunnels and Predicting Aerodynamics
      Starting with the Wright brothers, trace the role of wind tunnels for studying lift and drag on aircraft structures—research that sparked the rapid advancement of aviation. Aerodynamic research also involves analysis and computations. Get a taste of this process by analyzing conservation of mass, momentum, and energy as they relate to lift and drag. x
    • 7
      Propeller Aircraft: Slow and Efficient
      Apply concepts of lift and drag to propulsion, focusing on the internal combustion engine and propeller—still the most efficient power plant for aircraft flying at low speeds. Study the four-cycle engine and the design of propellers, which are rotating wings twisted to present an optimum angle of attack across their entire length. x
    • 8
      Jet Aircraft: Thrust to Fly Fast
      Propeller-driven aircraft drop sharply in efficiency at high fractions of the speed of sound. For sustained high-speed flight, a different propulsion system is needed—the jet engine. Trace the history of jets and their super-efficient variant used on commercial airliners—the high-bypass turbofan, a machine so intricate and beautiful that a piece of one is on display at the Museum of Modern Art. x
    • 9
      Aircraft Structures and Materials
      For anyone who gets the jitters during heavy turbulence, fear not: the plane is designed to take it! Follow the evolution of airframes from wood to metal to today's composite materials. Consider the problem of designing a sturdy structure that is still light enough to fly efficiently. Also look at tragic accidents that revealed the limits of certain materials and led to safer planes. x
    • 10
      Aircraft Stability and Flight Control
      Trace the quest for stable, controlled flight back to aviation pioneers Samuel P. Langley, the Wright brothers, and Glenn Curtiss. Stability means producing forces that restore an aircraft to equilibrium when perturbed, while control entails deflection of control surfaces to alter the pitch, roll, or yaw effects that act on the aircraft's center of gravity. x
    • 11
      Flying Faster and Higher
      Enter the realm of extreme flight, exploring how fast and how high a plane can go. The answers are remarkably precise and help define a given aircraft's flight envelope. Learn how aeronautical engineers calculate parameters such as airspeed for best climb angle, service ceiling, absolute ceiling, time to climb, stall speed, maximum speed, and speed for optimal cruise. x
    • 12
      Breaking the Sound Barrier and Beyond
      During and just after World War II, the quest for ever faster fighter planes reached an apparent natural barrier—the speed of sound. On approaching this limit, aircraft became unstable and uncontrollable. Discover how a new approach to aircraft design solved the problem of compressibility and shock waves in this transonic region, paving the way for supersonic flight. x
    • 13
      Long-Distance Flight and Predicting Range
      Planes take off with only the fuel required for the planned trip—plus a safety margin. Since there are no filling stations in the sky, the calculations must be precise, taking account of the plane’s performance characteristics, the weather, and other factors. Learn the equations that pilots use and hear a riveting story about what happens when they get it wrong. x
    • 14
      Aerobatics and Dogfighting
      Dogfighting is not just about stick-and-rudder skills; a pilot must understand the physics behind aerial maneuvering. Focus on turn performance, which is the key factor that limits maneuverability and is the cause of many fatal loss-of-control accidents. Learn how energy management is the secret of success in aerial combat, and get tips on performing a barrel roll. x
    • 15
      Mission Profiles and Aircraft Design
      Roll up your sleeves and learn how to design an aircraft, using an approach that has hardly changed in a century of building new airplanes. Start out by determining the weight values, maximum lift coefficient, wing loading, and thrust-to-weight ratio. Next lay out a configuration. Finally, iterate, making modifications and adjustments to perfect your vehicle. x
    • 16
      Primary Cockpit Instruments
      Focus on the science and engineering of the flight instruments. First, look at the hazards faced by even experienced pilots in the era before the altimeter and attitude indicator, learning how these vital instruments work. Then consider the importance of the airspeed indicator, turn coordinator, heading indicator, and vertical speed indicator. x
    • 17
      Air Traffic Navigation and Communication
      On a typical weekday, five to ten thousand aircraft are in the air over the U.S. at a given moment, flying to different cities at varying speeds and different altitudes. Survey the methods, tools, and jargon of air traffic controllers, who keep this traffic moving safely and expeditiously. Also look ahead to next-generation enhancements in the air traffic control system. x
    • 18
      Flight Autonomy and Drones
      Automated flight systems are increasingly used in human-piloted aircraft, where their nearly fail-safe expertise creates some unusual problems. Also look at remotely piloted vehicles, also called drones. Pioneered by the military, these are taking to the sky for a variety of practical civilian missions, including recreational uses. x
    • 19
      Helicopters and Vertical Flight
      Helicopters are so unlike fixed-wing aircraft in appearance and operation that it's hard to believe they work on the same aerodynamics principles. Focus on their ingenious rotor blades, which are rotating wings. Explore the challenge of flying a chopper, and learn why it's safer to lose power at altitude in a helicopter than in an airplane. x
    • 20
      Rocket Science and the Evolution of Launch
      Fly beyond the atmosphere with the only vehicle now capable of reaching space—the rocket. Discover that rocket science is not “rocket science,” in the sense of being extraordinarily difficult. It’s just basic physics and chemistry. Review the fundamentals of solid and liquid propellants, thrust, specific impulse, stability, nozzle design, and the advantages of using multiple stages. x
    • 21
      Orbiting Earth Means Always Falling
      Having ascended into space in the previous lecture, now investigate your orbital options. Whether you go into a circular, elliptical, or Earth-escape orbit—or make it into orbit at all—depends on your cutoff velocity. Calculate different orbits, including the Hohmann transfer ellipse needed for efficiently changing orbits. Also relive the orbital rendezvous exploits of Gemini 8 and Apollo 11. x
    • 22
      To Mars and Beyond: Gravity-Assist Flight
      Venture beyond Earth to the realm of the planets. Interplanetary trajectories require exquisite timing so that the target planet is in exactly the right spot when the spacecraft arrives, often by a Hohmann transfer ellipse. Consider two fuel-saving approaches to these marathon journeys—gravity assists and ion propulsion. x
    • 23
      Atmospheric Reentry: Ballistic, Skip, Glide
      Now return to Earth, analyzing the problem of decelerating from orbital or escape speed to a gentle touchdown on land or water. Calculate the amount of energy that must be lost during the plunge through the atmosphere, and consider three approaches to reentry, including that of the Space Shuttle, which unfortunately ended tragically for Columbia in 2003. Also look at the dire reentry scenario faced by Apollo 13 in 1970. x
    • 24
      The Future of Air and Space Flight
      Close by probing future developments in air and space flight. See these two realms combined in two vehicles: the White Knight aircraft that launches the Space Ship One capsule, and the proposed Mars atmospheric flyer. Consider technically possible devices such as the space elevator, solar-powered aircraft, and personal air vehicles. And that's just the beginning, for the sky is truly the limit! x
    • 25
      Bonus Material: Gustave Eiffel's Wind Tunnels
      Interview with Dr. John Anderson regarding Gustave Eiffel's Wind Tunnels and his career as an applied scientist in the field of aerodynamics. Dr. Anderson is the Curator of Aeronautical Engineering, Aeronautics Department at Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. x
    • 26
      Bonus Material: Engineering Faster Flight Speeds
      Interview with Dr. John Anderson regarding flight speed engineering. x
    • 27
      Bonus Material: Why the Wright Flyer Succeeded
      Interview with Dr. John Anderson regarding how and what contributed to the success of the Wright Flyer. x
    • 28
      Bonus Material: The Wright Brothers' Innovations
      Interview with Dr. Tom Crouch regarding the many innovations of the Wright Brothers. Dr. Crouch is the Senior Curator, Aeronautics Department at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. x
    • 29
      Bonus Material: Higher, Farther, Faster
      Interview with Dr. Roger D. Launius, Former Associate Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs with Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. x
Video title