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This week, the summer reading tails are all on airplanes! Fly by the Main Library starting June 21st, pick up an airplane STEM kit, and register for our Homeschool Thursday program on Thursday June 24th at 2pm. You can register for this program here:


You can make a glider and perform a wing experiment at home with the materials provided and share them in Thursday’s program! Have fun, and feel free to share tales of your planes & experiments using #kckpl or on our social media! In the meantime, here are some fantastic, famous planes you can make with the glider in your STEM kit!

  1. The Spirit of St Louis

Charles Lindbergh purchased this Ryan airplane with an engine made by the Wright Brothers for $10,580 in 1927. He flew the plane across the Atlantic Ocean uninterrupted and became famous overnight. Five seats were removed to make room for the needed fuel tanks, leaving him just a wicker chair behind them. He looked forward using a small periscope that went up through the roof. Space inside was so cramped that a mirror was installed on the instrument panel so he could read the magnetic compass above his head, which appeared backward in the reflection. The Spirit of St Louis now hangs in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Photo credit: Adobe Stock Images

2. The Red Tail fighter/bomber

The Curtiss P-51 was one of the most important planes in World War II. It was nicknamed the “Mustang” and had distinctive features like a supercharged V-12 engine and short wings. It could reach speeds of 437 mph and altitudes of 41,900 feet. The Mustang could be used as a fighter or light bomber. The Tuskegee Airmen in the 332nd Air Expeditionary Group flew P-51 Mustangs in escort and pursuit missions throughout the war. They made use of the plane’s speed and versatility to attack strafed ground targets by flying in low and opening fire. The 332nd became known as the “Red Tails” or “Red-Tail Angels,” a reference to the red paint on the empennage of their planes.

Photo credit: Adobe Stock Images

3. Avro Type 504 biplane

An entrepreneur named A. V. Roe started a company to make planes that were entirely designed and manufactured in England with no help or imports from other countries. The Type 500 was not popular in 1913 because the British government wasn’t convinced that planes were necessary. His airplanes became important when World War I erupted, and he produced over 8,300 Avro Type 504 biplanes for the new Royal Air Force. It became so popular as a versatile trainer craft that the RAF trained future aces until 1933.

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Images

4. Beechcraft Model 18

Some small planes had two engines, like the “Twin Beech” heavy fighter. The Model 18 could carry two pilots and six passengers, with a wingspan of 47 feet and two 330 horsepower engines. This design made it very versatile to drop off covert teams, perform reconnaissance missions, or carry bombs. It became famous as a night fighter to slip behind enemy lines. Howard Stark flies Captain America into Germany using a Twin Beech in the MCU film Captain America: The First Avenger. The back of this aircraft will differ from the STEM kit slightly. It features an uncommon twin tailfin configuration, one on each side of a long tailplane. Can you think of how you would redesign your glider to create that design?

Photo credit: Adobe Stock Images

Thanks for reading our airplane tales about airplane tails! Have fun with your STEM kit available for pick up at Main Library, and feel free to share your designs with us on social media or using #kckpl


332d Expeditionary Operations Group. (n.d.). Wikipedia. Retrieved June 16, 2021 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/332d_Expeditionary_Operations_Grouphttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/332d_Expeditionary_Operations_Group

Beechcraft Model 18. (n.d.). Wikipedia. Retrieved June 16, 2021 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beechcraft_Model_18

Chant, C. (2002). A Century of Triumph: The History of Aviation. The Free Press

Doeden, M. (2019). Tuskegee Airmen. Lerner Publications.

Hampton, D. (2017). The Flight: Charles Lindbergh’s Daring and Immortal 1927 Transatlantic Crossing. Harper Collins Publishers.