Help me find an airplane poster
November 1, 2005 6:51 PM   Subscribe

My 2.5 year old son is obsessed by airplanes. Can you tell me how I might find a large poster of an airplane that he would like, ideally one that has a 'breakaway' schematic graphic that reveals different parts/interiors of an airplane? Any recommended airplane or airplane-type toys? (Also, feel free to substitute 'fire engine' for 'airplane' with respect to all of these questions.)
posted by Mr. Justice to Technology (17 answers total)
Here are a bunch.
posted by barnone at 7:06 PM on November 1, 2005

This doesn't help with the poster part, but DK publishing specializes in non-fiction books for young readers that provide details about animals, planes, ships, etc. I've seen schmatics in some of their books before. So this book might be a little old for him, but it would have plenty of pictures of planes. They also put out sticker books.
posted by gnat at 7:07 PM on November 1, 2005

Do you have any Richard Scarry books? Several of them feature detailed drawings of airports and airplanes. They're perfect books for kids his age. My son (3.5) loves them.

My son is into trains and one of his favorite activities to do with me or my wife is to "look up trains on the computer" where we just do a Google image search for "train" and see what comes up. Make sure "safe search" is on so you don't get any surprises.

You can probably find some good posters at Allposters

BTW, the obsession will never go away. I'm 36 and I still look up every time I hear a propeller.
posted by bondcliff at 7:08 PM on November 1, 2005

barnone has wisdom. Those are awesome, and my inner 9-year-old wants the Vulcan one because he really REALLY liked the Vulcan at Flugtag.

Beyond that: buy cheap coffee-table books about airplanes. Get remaindered ones so you don't want to kill him when he tears a page out of a $50 book; just cruise B&N/Borders and remainder stores for a while and you'll find a bajillion. Let him destroy them.

I dunno what toys are good for 2.5 year olds. For prime-rugrat 6--9 year olds, I'd recommend good die-cast airplanes with some semblance of accuracy, or at least not obvious gross inaccuracies.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:09 PM on November 1, 2005

Sporty's Pilot Shop has lots of posters here. None are cutaways but cockpit interiors are cooler anyhow because you can pretend you're in the plane. An actual-size cockpit photo and a creatively-cut-and-folded refrigerator box and you've got a kickass toy.
posted by mendel at 7:10 PM on November 1, 2005

Top Gun works as a babysitter. This also works on flying-obsessed twenty-something guys who are heartbroken and won't talk.

Also: Christmas present, anyone?
posted by barnone at 7:22 PM on November 1, 2005

FIRETRUCK! (the Onion really captures something here)
posted by Triode at 7:29 PM on November 1, 2005

He might also like this site.
posted by Wet Spot at 7:58 PM on November 1, 2005

If you're comfortable with small aircraft, and private pilots, take your boy out to the nearest general aviation airport in your vicinity, and head for the Flight Base Operation (FBO) hangar, or follow signs to any Flight School operation. Cessna has long had a $49 "introductory flight" program, that lets you go up with an instructor, and fly around for an hour, ostesibly as a "try before you buy" experience that will get you into flight training. At most FBO's, you can take your boy along as a passenger, and he may be completely fascinated, although at 2.5, he won't get as much out of this, or remember it as well, as he would if you do this when he is older. Which, of course, you could.

But, if you just go hang out at an FBO, you'll get opportunities to look at small airplanes on the ground, up close. And you may get some offers for rides with local pilots basing there, or chances for your boy to sit in planes on the ground, as pilots do pre-flights. Most private pilots remember how much they loved airplanes as a kid, and are more than happy to share that sense of wonder and adventure with a young boy and his parent.
posted by paulsc at 8:39 PM on November 1, 2005

I'd be happy to send you the largest jpg I have of this design that I did. My email is in my profile.
posted by atom128 at 9:18 PM on November 1, 2005

Steven Biesty has amazing cross-section books. Pop-Up and others.
posted by slimslowslider at 9:20 PM on November 1, 2005

Call or email the Public Relations or Investor Relations departments of any of the airline manufacturers. They tend to have posters of exactly this, and give them out for free to folks who take tours of the manufacturing facilities. I'm sure they'd be willing to mail them out to you if you asked. Some other options:

Boeing has a great online store that sells, among other things, posters.

You might also be able to get photos online and have them printed up. Northrop Grumman has a great photo gallery that's available online. Sikorsky has one, as well.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:47 AM on November 2, 2005

Triode, that is THE BESTEST thing I have ever read. Now I finally understand my soon to be 3 year old!!
posted by smcniven at 5:58 AM on November 2, 2005

If you're comfortable with small aircraft, and private pilots, take your boy out to the nearest general aviation airport in your vicinity

This is a good idea, but I'd wait until your son is at least five. A small plane is a noisy thing inside, and a 2.5 year old probably wouldn't let you put a headset on him, assuming you even had one to fit and the plane had them for the back seat. It's very possible that a small plane ride would really scare your son at this age, since he wouldn't fully grasp the concept of what he was doing. Not to mention a lot of people get motion sick on their first ride in a small plane.

A lot of FBOs might not honor the $49.00 intro ride if they know you're doing it as a scenic flight. That $49.00 is designed to hook people into taking flight lessons, where they will then go on to spend several thousand dollars. You might run into a sympathetic pilot or FBO managers who will though. It's worth checking out, WHEN your son is a bit older.

I would second hanging out at a small airport. My wife and son were hanging out at a local field watching planes land and a pilot invited them to come past the gate and sit in the plane. As paulsc said, most pilots remember when they were that 2.5 year old kid fascinated by airplanes.

A lot of small airports have restaurants too. It's a good way to run into pilots.
posted by bondcliff at 6:44 AM on November 2, 2005

This book could be everything he's looking for:

Joe Kaufman's Big Book About How Things Work

You can get it from, and it's about how engines work, how planes fly, with big cut away pictures.

I didn't understand it when I first got it (at his age) but the pictures are fantastic... and the idea that it was understandable how things flew, well, I didn't have to understand it to like the idea that someone could...
posted by ewkpates at 7:00 AM on November 2, 2005

On the off chance you live in Chicago, there's a Boeing gift shop at 100 Riverside Plaza.
posted by WCityMike at 11:46 AM on November 2, 2005

A child who is only a little bit older, with similar predilections, might like The Space Shuttle Operator's Manual.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:50 AM on November 3, 2005

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