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   HomeAsk The Expert / Expert Archive / Joshua Stoff


Ask the Expert

Joshua Stoff
Joshua Stoff
Curator, at the Cradle of Aviation Museum

For twenty years, Joshua Stoff has been the curator for the Cradle of Aviation Museum at Mitchel Field in Garden City, New York. He received his B.A. in History at Adelphi University and his Masters in Museum Studies at the University of Toronto. He has been the catalyst for twenty-two aircraft restorations, consultant for multiple aviation museums and history documentaries, recipient of three awards as well as being the author of fifteen books. His expertise and relentless dedication continues to be the driving force for the Cradle of Aviation Museum.

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Questions and Answers
Want to know more? Read the questions and answers below. No more questions are being taken at this time.



Q: How old must you be to get flying lessons and where on Long Island can you get them? - Zeke, 9th Grade, from Long Island

A: You have to be 16 to get a student pilot license but you can start lessons at 15. You must be 17 to get an actual pilots license. There are many places you can learn to fly on Long Island. The largest are Nassau Flyers at Republic Airport and Mid Island Air Service at MacArthur and Brookhaven Airports. - Josh



Q: What fuel do planes run on? - Student, 1st Grade

A: Small propeller planes use gasoline made from oil much like the automobile you ride in. Jet planes use a fuel that burns easier called JP-4 which is also kerosene. - Josh



Q: What is your favorite plane? How many planes have you flown? Have you ever pulled a "G"? If so, how many? - Greg, 5th Grade, from Long Island

A: I have only flown a few kinds of small planes. My favorite is called the Piper Cub. They were built from the late 1930's into the 1950's. They have a metal frame and are covered in fabric. They hold two people and are very easy and fun to fly. I have never been in a small plane that can go fast enough to pull any 'G's. - Josh



Q: Is there an airplane that travels at the speed of sound? If yes, what airlines does it fly for? - Student, 4th Grade

A: No jet airliners today can go as fast as the speed of sound. The speed of sound is about 650 miles per hour and jet airliners fly around 500. The only airliner that could fly faster than the speed of sound was the Concorde which was taken out of service in October of this year after a 20 year career with Air France and British Airways. - Josh



Q: How has aviation affected history? - Student

A: The development of the airplane has had a great effect on world history. Militarily, now all wars are largely decided by who has superior airpower. As for commercial aviation, it is not only the safest form of transportation ever invented, it has also allowed all the peoples of the earth to travel and get to know each other and thus help decrease tension between nations. - Josh



Q: Do you know about the biggest airplane in the world? - Student, 5th Grade

A: The biggest airplane in the world was built in Russia and is called the Antonov ANT-225. It has six jet engines, can carry 331,000 pounds of cargo and is 275 feet long. Only one was built in 1988 and it is still flying. - Josh



Q: What is a sweept foward wing? - Tyler, 5th Grade, from Long Island

A: Hi Tyler. On nearly all jets the wings are "swept" or angle back toward the tail. On a few experimental jets they angle forward toward the front of the plane. This makes them unstable but very maneuverable. -Josh



Q: Do planes really fly faster than the speed of sound? - Jen, 8th Grade, from New Jersey

A: Hi Jen. Yes, the speed that sound travels is around 650 miles per hour. Many jets can fly faster than this - that makes them supersonic. -Josh



Q: I went to the museum with my parents and I love the hot air balloon. How is the balloon flight the same as airplanes? - Jude, 1st Grade, from Long Island

A: Hi Jude. Balloons fly very differently from airplanes. Balloons have no engine or wings. They are filled with heated air that is lighter than the cool air around it. This makes them rise into the sky. Since they can't be steered, they go wherever the wind blows them. -Josh



Q: How did you learn to fly a plane? - Evan, Kindergarten, from Long Island

A: Hi Evan. I went to a flying school on Brookhaven Airport. I learned how to read the instruments, use the radio and control the airplane. I got a pilot's license when I was 16 - this was before I learned how to drive a car! -Josh



Q: How do planes know where to go? - Ross, Kindergarten, from New York City

A: Hi Ross. Planes really don't know where to go. The pilot decides where he wants to fly the plane and then he steers it there using instruments and a computer. -Josh



Q: What is the future of aviation? What do the next 100 years hold? - Ari, 12th Grade, from Long Island

A: Hi Ari. I expect that over the next 100 years airplanes will steadily grow larger, faster and more efficient. In 25 years we will probably see planes that can hold 1000 people. I also expect to see a new type of supersonic transport, but it will be larger and more fuel efficient than the Concorde. Boeing is now designing a new airliner that looks to be the most efficient one ever built. -Josh



Q: I heard that at the time of the first flight and before - the act of flying was so incomprehensible to many that today's equivalent is time travel? Do you think that that is true and do you think that one day we will have time travel? - Kathleen, 12th Grade, from Long Island

A: Hi Kathleen. To some extent I think that is true. In 1910 people could not believe it when they saw an airplane fly - they thought it was a miracle - like making yourself invisible. People had dreamed of flying for thousands of years and then all of a sudden it became a reality. As for time travel I really don't think we will ever see that. However, in about 100 years, I do think we will have spaceships that can travel at the speed of light. -Josh



Q: I read that kids can drive airplanes. Why can't kids drive cars but they can drive airplanes? What fuel do airplanes use? How much does it cost? How many miles to the gallon do they get? - Henry, 4th Grade, from New York City

A: Hi Henry. In order to get a pilot's license you have to be 16. That is how old I was when I got mine. Airplanes use gasoline like cars, but it is a little more powerful. Airplane gas is very expensive - about $3.00 a gallon. Modern airplanes get very good mileage, once in the air they always go the same speed - they don't have to speed up and slow down like cars. -Josh



Q: What is the biggest airplane? What is the fastest airplane? Can airplanes fly backward or upside down? - Cole, 1st Grade, from New York City

A: Hi Cole. The biggest airplane in the world is being built right now in France. It is called the Airbus A-380 and it can hold 650 people. The fastest airplane in the world is called the SR-71 Blackbird. It is flown by the Air Force and can go 2000 miles an hour! Airplanes cannot fly backward but they can go upside down if they are doing a loop. -Josh



The responses and opinions contained herein are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Power to Learn or Cablevision.



RELATED LINKS

The Cradle of Aviation Museum
The Cradle of Aviation Museum heightens the public’s awareness, understanding, and appreciation of Long Island’s role in the history and development of aviation and space technology and increases public understanding of aerospace technology and its impact on American life.
http://www.cradleofaviation.org

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