An aeroplane is a means of transport that moves in the air. It has fixed wings on the sides that give it lift when air flows around them quickly. This is why aeroplanes need a long runway to reach the necessary speed and create sufficient lift. Commercial aircraft are piloted by two pilots, but in many private aircraft one pilot is enough. They sit at the front of the aircraft in a room called the cockpit.
One or more engines power the aircraft to make it move forward. The engines move either a propeller or a turbine. This is also called the aircraft's engines. Generally, aircraft with turbines can fly a little faster than those with propellers.
Gliders, on the other hand, do not need an engine. Normally, they are pulled aloft with winches or by powered aircraft. From there, they can then glide in the air. A skilful glider pilot exploits thermals to gain height. Thermals are updrafts: they are packets of air that heat up, for example due to sunlight, and because they are light, they rise upwards. These then carry the glider upwards as well. The thermals create certain clouds, the so-called cumulus clouds or fleecy clouds. The pilot orients himself to these. On favourable days, the pilot can fly from cloud to cloud and be carried upwards again and again by the thermals under the cloud. The glider pilot, on the other hand, does not need blowing wind. It can even make flying very dangerous. There are even unmanned aircraft. They are remote-controlled and are called drones.
Thanks to aviation, people can now travel far in quite a short time. You can fly from Europe to America in about eight hours - that would take at least three days by fast ship. Initially, small airfields or airfields were sufficient, but today there are huge airports. Large aircraft can carry up to 600 passengers. But many goods are also transported by cargo planes.
Aircraft with an engine, as we know them today, have only been around for about 100 years. In 1903, the Wright brothers succeeded in making the first long powered flight in the USA. Before that, many other people had tried to move wings with their muscle power. But humans are too weak for that. With gliding wings, one could only cover short distances. The Wright brothers not only installed an engine, but also took care of good steering.