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From Fantasy to Flight

From Fantasy to Flight
[Detail] A man who flies with wings.
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"Man must rise above the Earth - to the top of the atmosphere and beyond - for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives. "
~ Socrates, 500 BC

primary source set

This Primary Source Set includes images, diary entries, personal letters and analysis tools to help teach about the Wright brothers' lives and experiments.

online resources
Especially for Teachers...

Aerodynamics, Aircraft and Balloons and Airships - (Science Reference Services) Explore these three Science Tracer Bullets for information, bibliographies and internet sources on each topic.

American Treasures: S-42 Flying Clipper Seaplane - (Exhibition) This was the first plane put into regular service by Pan American Airways in August 1934.

American Treasures: Bell - (Exhibition) Bell made extensive aerodynamic studies with these ring kites before attempting to build airplanes.

American Treasures: First Flight - (Exhibition) In 1903 the Wright brothers accomplished their first successful flight.

American Treasures: Lindbergh on the Future of Airliners - (Exhibition) Charles Lindbergh correctly predicted that trans-oceanic aircraft of the future will not only be very large but will be land-based rather than water-based.

American Treasures: Igor Sikorsky's Helicopters - (Exhibition) One of aviation's greatest designers, Russian-born Igor Sikorsky, began work on helicopters as early as 1910. In this journal, he records his technical progress as of 1930.

Today in History (June 11, 1927) Charles Lindbergh - (Today in History) On this day in 1927, Charles Lindbergh received the first Distinguished Flying Cross ever awarded.

With Wings As Eagles: From Fantasy to Flight - (Learning Page Activity) View a powerpoint presentation highlighting resources from the Library of Congress that document the history of flight.

  Especially for your Students...

Amelia Earhart - (America's Library) Earhart was the first woman to make a solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic.

December 17, 1903 - Wilbur and Orville Wright - (America’s Library) On December 17, 1903, they became the first people to demonstrate sustained flight of a heavier-than-air machine under the complete control of the pilot.

Experimental Aircraft Association's Air Venture - (Local Legacies) The annual gathering of the EAA is one of the world's largest aviation events. Explore Local Legacies for featured celebrations from your state!

Jump Back in Time: June 11, 1927 (Charles Lindbergh) - (America’s Library) In May 1927, Charles Lindbergh flew his monoplane, Spirit of St. Louis, from New York to Paris, France.

Kitty Hawk, North Carolina - North Carolina First Flight at Kitty Hawk - (America's Library) The Wright brothers were from Ohio, but they achieved most of their successes in North Carolina.

Today in History (December 17, 1903) First Flight - (Today in History) On this day in 1903, the Wright brothers became the first people to demonstrate sustained flight of a heavier-than-air machine under the complete control of the pilot.

lesson plans

Use these lesson plans (created by educators for educators) to explore topics about flight with your students in your classroom:

Sorry - there are no lesson plans for this theme.


Is there a title (or two) that you always read to (or with) your students when teaching about this theme? Are there invaluable reference books that you use? Staff from The Library of Congress have begun a collection of titles for the "From Fantasy to Flight" theme. We hope you will contribute your favorites to our growing bibliography!

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collection connections

Create your own collaborative lesson plans using material related to this month's theme assembled from The Learning Page Collection Connections:

Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers at the Library of Congress, 1862-1939 - (Summary and Teaching Resources) Subject headings aerodromes, airplanes, flight, aeronautics etc to find resources and documents related to flight history and Bell’s experiments with kits and aviation.

Photographs Taken by the Wright Brothers of Aviation Experiments, Home, and Family - (Summary and Teaching Resources) View Library of Congress digital images of 303 glass plate negatives, most taken by the Wright brothers themselves between 1896 and 1911, that document their successes and failures with their new flying machines.

Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers at the Library of Congress - (Summary Only)

History of the American West: 1860-1920: Photographs from the Collection of the Denver Public Library - (Summary and Teaching Resources) Subject headings – airplanes, air pilots, air shows, airports and fighter planes - will yield numerous flight related photographs.

Photographs From the Chicago Daily News, 1902-1933 - (Summary and Teaching Resources) Subject headings flight, air pilots, airplanes, air pilots, air shows, airplane hangers, airships, balloonists will yield numerous flight related photographs.

search terms

These terms may be useful when searching for items related to this theme in the American Memory collections.

aeronautics airplane names of pilots
Air pilots aviation names of airplanes
Air shows balloon ascensions  
airships ballooning  
aircraft flight  

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Last updated 09/25/2008