Air & Space Smithsonian: Dreams of Flight
Air & Space Smithsonian: Dreams of Flight (Creative Multimedia) is a very good, very interesting title that makes excellent use of all multimedia elements. The history of aviation is told through just about equal parts video, audio, text, photos, and classy animations of schematics. It’s not incredibly in-depth, but it certainly doesn’t seem superficial, and it’s completely accessible. The disc is set up so that everything connects to everything else via extensive hotspots and links. Five icons lead to sections on Milestones, Aviation Pioneers, Culture, Flying Machines, and Auto-Pilot. Aviation Pioneers is particularly involving; the tone stops short of deifying the “Pioneers,” and opts instead for a quiet respect that is even more impressive. Only after browsing for awhile do you begin to realize that most of the people being discussed died in the line of duty (not to mention the fact that 31 of the first 40 airmail pilots were dead by the end of the first decade of that service. The more technical aspects of flying, similarly, are absorbed through a kind of osmosis. After reading, hearing, and watching so much about aviation, you’ll be ready for the nitty-gritty by the time you reach the Flying Machines section. Clip art and a bonus Flight Simulator (a preview of a soon-to-be released product) are included. Dreams of Flight is an ace program which will educate while it entertains.
– January 1996, Aviation & Space