Flight Adventure Deck Aeronautical Science Exhibit, which encompasses
more than 9,000 square feet, has been designed and built by
the staff of the National Museum of Naval Aviation, with funding
provided by the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation.
exhibit covers the basic principles of flight, beginning with
gravity, mass and motion, the atmosphere, buoyancy, aerodynamics
and propulsion. Future expansion will include navigation and
exhibit features 38 interactive devices, including:
- 5 wind tunnels
- frictionless air track
- weather & hot air balloons
- powerplant cutaways
- space scale
- see-through Navy trainer
are also 11 computer-based informational kiosks, six of which
are interactive. Four computer-based flight simulators are also
located in the exhibit. The cost of building Phase 1 of the
exhibit is approximately $1.7 million.
our program, students from Santa Rosa and Escambia County schools
are first introduced to the principles of flight as a prelude
to an organized tour of the exhibit. Afterward, they get hands-on
experience in the Flight Adventure Deck.
As the students navigate through the exhibit with the
Flight Adventure Deck teachers, they investigate different science concepts and principles. They also collect data along
the way that will be used in later activities back in their classroom.
The first stop along their way is to understand
gravity and the difference between weight and mass, which are fundamental to our understanding of flight - as
well as being part of our Sunshine State Standards in our middle school science curriculum.
Free-Fall Race is a fun activity in which different weighted
tennis balls are dropped at the same time to see how they fall.
By observing how the tennis balls behave, students and the public
learn first hand about Galileo’s Law of Falling Bodies. We
also have a Space Scale that allows visitors and our students
to experiment with the relationship between weight and mass.
The scale allows you to read your weight on any of the planets
in our solar system. With our classes, the students weigh different
masses on different planets, plot their data, investigate ratios,
make predictions and ultimately calculate the surface gravitational
forces on those planets.
entering the Atmosphere section of the exhibit, students find
that understanding the composition and properties of Earth’s
atmosphere are equally important to an understanding of how
we fly. They can see what happens to air pressure as they change
elevation from the Dead Sea to the top of Mt. Everest - as demonstrated
by a liquid-filled manometer. Students use this device to collect
data on the inverse relationship of air pressure and altitude.
lift and drag are much easier to do if we understand that air
is matter or "stuff" - and that it has a definite mass. The
Magdeburg Hemispheres device is a favorite tool for demonstrating
what happens when you remove the "stuff" from inside a sealed
container. Kids particularly enjoy trying to separate the hemispheres
against the force of several hundred pounds of ambient air.
the Aerostatic Flight section of the exhibit, visitors and students
explore the principle of buoyancy with Descartes’ Divers and
Helium Balloons. The Density of Gases device allows them to
feel how much 100 cubic feet of each different gas in the atmosphere
weighs, ultimately drawing conclusions as to those gasses which
are lighter than air. From this lesson students can better appreciate
how mankind first came to fly not like the birds, but in balloons.
Aerodynamics section of the exhibit is the largest - including
five wind tunnels and four computer-based flight simulators.
Principle is the basis of our understanding of how a wing
produces lift, and we use several different wind tunnels to
demonstrate how it works and how lift is affected by changes
in angle of attack or drag.
Captive Mentor wind tunnel gives students a bird’s eye view
of how an airplane is controlled in the dimensions of pitch,
roll and yaw. Designed to the museum's specifications, this
wind tunnel is the first of its kind in any U.S. museum or science
center and is unique in that it pulls air across the model airplane
rather than blowing air at it.
"See-Through SNJ," like the static cockpits so popular
with Museum visitors, allows students the opportunity to see
how the stick and rudder pedals are linked to the ailerons,
elevators and rudder which control flight. But more than that,
it is an actual WWII-era flight trainer with real flight controls
and a real engine under the cowling. Its aluminum skin has been
replaced by clear lexan to expose the tubular interior structure.
is the fourth force of flight examined in the exhibit, and the
powerplants we use to produce this force are displayed in detail:
piston engines, also known as "reciprocating" engines;
gas turbines and rockets.
We have an operating cutaway of the Wright Cyclone R1820 piston
engine and a unique computer-based animation
that illustrates the four cycles of a piston engine. A Westinghouse
J-34 gas turbine engine and a colorful fiberoptic display above
it are also available to demonstrate the four stages of jet
propulsion. Students learn the differences between reciprocating
engines and gas turbines, and conduct a science experiment to
test those differences. They even calculate their own horsepower.