In spite of man's obsession with flight, many people will go to any length to keep their feet on the ground. The Institute for Psychology of Air Travel has a website at www.techadvisers.compsyair to help people overcome their fear. Complete the online survey to measure just how scared you are, follow the tips on preventing flying phobia and this site promises that you will soon be "flying through the air with the greatest of ease".
However, if online therapy fails, then try http:airsafe.com (Safety Information for the Airline Passenger). There are basic cabin safety tips and answers to the most frequently asked questions, but articles on "skyrage" and a list of "Famous people who died in aviation accidents" are more likely to put off even the most seasoned flyer.
Leonardo da Vinci sketched ideas for a number of inventions ahead of his time. At ww.mos.orgslnLeonardoLeoHomePage.html see his Visions of the Future - clicking on pictures of modern versions of the parachute and the helicopter will transport you to his original designs sketched more than 500 years ago.
Britain's largest university ballooning society at Bristol is as good a place as any to take off. Go to their website at www.bris.ac.ukDeptsUnionBUHABS to find out "10 things you probably didn't know about ballooning".
If aviation technology can't get you to the States to visit one of NASA's installations, just use Internet technology to whisk you across the Atlantic. The K-8 Aeronautics Internet Textbook at http:wings.ucdavis.eduindex.html is part of the excellent NASA for Kids site (www.nasa.govkids.html) and is the perfect place to kick-start your children's (and your own) study of basic aeronautics. Select your own reading level (choose from beginner to instructor level) and learn more about the history of flight, myths and legends, or the mechanics of propulsion. The site is brought to life with colourful illustrations and a variety of ideas for lesson plans.
So you're a plane spotter? There's no need to fear coming out of the closet as you are certainly not alone. Log on to Aeroflight: the aviation enthusiasts website at http:aeroflt.users.netlink.co.uk for a guide to the best aircraft magazines from around the globe, information on aviation myths, details of forthcoming air shows and aircraft museums, plus facts about air forces worldwide.