First Flights

First Flights

  • 1990
  • 3 Seasons

Neil Armstrong adds to his long list of aviation accomplishments as he takes the controls of a variety of flying machines. Each episode blends historic footage, interviews, and flying. Armstrong takes you on an exhilarating adventure through time.

First Flights
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Seasons
Propellers: Wings With A Twist
13. Propellers: Wings With A Twist
 
The Wright brothers realized that a propeller was a rotating wing.In the 1930s, variable pitch and NACA research revolutionized propeller design. Today, fast turboprops with advanced propellers can be more efficient than the best jetliners.
Flight Control: Wing Warping To Fly-by-wire
12. Flight Control: Wing Warping To Fly-by-wire
 
Two years after the first manned flight, the Wrights mastered control sufficiently to fly the first circle. By WWII, the first hydraulically boosted controls were invented. Digital flight control, fly-by-wire technology, has become state of the art.
Flying Blind
11. Flying Blind
 
In the early days of flying, a weighted silk stocking tied to a strut might help the pilot gauge his airspeed. Wartime forced pilots to learn the skill of blind flying. Today, orbiting satellites and autopilots enable an aircraft to fly itself.
Flying Wings
10. Flying Wings
 
Searching for flight efficiency, some designers thought the ideal shape should be just a wing. Though development of flying wings has often proved illusive, Northrop's designs proved feasibility. The B-2 Stealth Bomber shows the concept holds promise.
Tail First Flying: The Canard
9. Tail First Flying: The Canard
 
When the small tail wings which enable an airplane to go up or down are moved to the front, they are called canards. It was an almost forgotten technology as old as manned flight, but canards are making a bold reappearance on the modern aviation scene.
Jump To The Sky: Jet Vtol
8. Jump To The Sky: Jet Vtol
 
Conventional airplanes need large runways, a limitation that concerned defense planners. As turbine engines became lighter, a new breed of aircraft became possible -- one that could take off and land vertically, yet fly with the speed of jets.
Water Birds: Floatplanes And Flying Boats
7. Water Birds: Floatplanes And Flying Boats
 
By the 1930s, flying boats and seaplanes were the craft of the future. Flying boats -- massive, airborne ocean liners -- opened up global routes for passengers, while floatplanes were the fastest, most innovative flying machines in existence.
Whirling Wings: Evolution Of The Rotorhead
6. Whirling Wings: Evolution Of The Rotorhead
 
From Cierva's autogyro, to the BK-117, the heart of the helicopter has been the rotorhead. Early helicopters were complex, dangerous machines, prone to failure. For the men and women who took the controls, concentration and daring were essential.
Workhorse Of The Sky: The Turboprop
5. Workhorse Of The Sky: The Turboprop
 
The turboprop is a mix of two successful technologies, the jet turbine and the propeller. Highly reliable, the turboprop has been the workhorse of the skies for decades, and remains the mainstay of commercial short-haul aviation.
Flying Lite: Gliders & Ultralights
4. Flying Lite: Gliders & Ultralights
 
Ultralight airplanes evolved from hang gliding enthusiasts' attempts to glide further by adding small engines and propellers. Now reliable, tested ultralights are flown by multitudes of recreational pilots.
Mass Transit In The Sky
3. Mass Transit In The Sky
 
During the 1960's, the general population embraced air travel. Larger airplanes were needed, with lower noise levels. The pilot's role changed to meet the demands of the developing airlines. Jumbo and narrow body jets were developed.
First Around The World
2. First Around The World
 
The ultimate test of aircraft and pilot was to fly around the world. Competition and showmanship were always a part, but it was the mental and physical endurance of the men and women who climbed into the cockpit that made success possible.
First To Fly
1. First To Fly
 
A hundred years before the Wright brothers, the hot air balloon had already lifted man to the sky. It grew in size, and culminated in the huge pre-WW1 dirigibles that still hold the record for the largest craft ever to lift off the ground.
Description

Neil Armstrong adds to his long list of aviation accomplishments as he takes the controls of a variety of flying machines. Each episode blends historic footage, interviews, and flying. Armstrong takes you on an exhilarating adventure through time. First Flights is a series that is currently running and has 3 seasons (39 episodes). The series first aired on December 31, 1990.

Where to Watch First Flights

First Flights is available for streaming on the Kinonation website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch First Flights on demand at Amazon Prime, Amazon and Hoopla.

  • Premiere Date
    December 31, 1990