Look! Up in the sky…
The difference between an airplane and a jet is a lot like the difference between a square and a rectangle. A jet is always an airplane, but an airplane isn’t always a jet.
A jet is a type of airplane that uses jet engines to push it off the ground and through the sky! Jet engines are pretty powerful, and they’re usually found underneath the wings of jet planes. They suck in air and then mix the air with a special type of fuel that makes the air explode! The exploding air can only exit the back of the jet engine, and that really strong force pushes the plane forward!
Jets are just one type of airplane. There are also airplanes that are driven by propellers at the front of the plane, and there are others that aren’t powered at all they just glide!
Chances are, if you’re flying somewhere on vacation, you’ll be taking a jet. If you get a window seat, you just might be able to look out and see the jet engines under the wings.
Have you ever blown up a balloon and then let it go before it was tied? What happened to the balloon? It probably zipped around the room, spinning and darting in different directions!
That’s a lot like how a jet engine works. The balloon wants to push all the air out of it, just like air is pushed out of a jet engine. The force of the escaping air pushes objects forward. Luckily jets are a lot more stable than balloons or we’d be using a lot more barf bags on the plane!
If you have some balloons handy and a grown-up to watch you, let go of a balloon filled with air and watch it fly. How long does the force of the air keep it flying? Imagine how much force is needed to keep a huge jet plane in the air for a long trip.