Airbus Foundation Discovery Space

Flight Works Alabama is your point of entry into the exciting world of commercial aircraft innovation. The facility's 4,400 square-foot Discovery Space features an iconic representation of a full-sized A320 aircraft in varying stages of assembly and design. In and around the aircraft space-frame, hands-on interactive, virtual and authentic display elements will allow you to examine the science of flight, explore modern aviation engineering, and discover how a commercial jet aircraft is designed and assembled.

Our Exhibits

Science of Flight
Flight Works Alabama will be unique. It will meld together the scientific principles that enable powered flight and the ability for guests to create and test their own aircraft designs. Guests will experience the exciting global logistics and engineering innovation story of modern commercial aviation manufacturing as they explore the actual job skills necessary and career opportunities available that make Alabama a major aviation assembly hub and growing region for high-tech manufacturing.
Research
How Things Fly
Flight Works Alabama examines the science behind flight. Guests will experience the balancing act required between two pairs of opposing forces (thrust vs. drag, lift vs. weight) as well as how aircraft move through the air (pitch, roll, and yaw). Hands-on interactives enable guests to maneuver the control surfaces of an experimental aircraft, utilize fly-by-wire technology to digitally control an aircraft on screen, and investigate biomimicry, the adaptation of proven design principles from the world of nature.
Design
Design Your Own Aircraft
Guests at Flight Works Alabama will be challenged to select a design configuration and assemble their own aircraft to match a specific performance criteria using pre-fabricated 3-D printed parts from an on-site inventory. Their small-scale model creations will then be tested in a wind tunnel where trailing smoke will illustrate airflow over their aircraft design along with other real-time data measurements to determine how well their design meets their specific criteria challenge.
Build
Cockpit Fuselage
Flight Works Alabama's core mission is to share the story of innovative aircraft design and manufacturing. This story is dramatically featured in a life-size depiction of an Airbus A320 passenger jet in varying stages of assembly and design. A refurbished nose section and cockpit enable guests to explore the flight deck and learn what it takes to fly the aircraft. They will tour the forward cabin which has sections of the fuselage removed to reveal what lies behind the walls and below the deck floor.
Build
A320 Theater
Flight Works Alabama features a scenic framework of the A320 fuselage. Guests will sit in actual passenger seats and watch a large video monitor mounted on the bulkhead wall to learn how the aircraft's interior cabin is designed and tailored for the specific needs of different airline customers. Another in-flight video explores the many modern safety features onboard an A320 aircraft. This seating area for 21 guests can also be re-purposed as a presentation area with speaker support and connectivity for group presentations and special on-site events.
Build
Engine Nacelle
Placed in context with the full-size A320 aircraft schematic diagram on the floor of Discovery Space are key aircraft components, including engines, landing gear, and control surfaces. These important aircraft systems provide guests at Flight Works Alabama a sense of scale and appreciation for their complexity and reliable operation. Touchscreen tablets enable g uests to explore these components with "enhanced reality content" showing how they function and where they are located on or inside the aircraft.
Build
Manufacturing Process
Located atop the A320 aircraft schematic diagram on the floor, guests will get a hands-on perspective for how the aircraft is manufactured and assembled. An interactive digital global logistics game will require them to get all the parts from around the world to Mobile on time. A virtual concierge will teach them about key aircraft manufacturing jobs. Handling real tools used by installers and technicians, they can try riveting or manning a virtual welding station. Flight Works Alabama even gives guests a chance to tour the nearby Airbus Final Assembly Line building.
Test
Flight Simulators
Flight Works Alabama is located in the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley. Where better to pilot a simulated "first flight" of a new Airbus A320 commercial aircraft than over Mobile, AL - just like the real Airbus test pilots do every week? Guests can choose from a full chassis flight simulator or desktop stations to put their new flight skills to the test as they experience the thrill and appreciate the benefits of modeling and simulation in the design, assembly, and testing of modern commercial aircraft.
Explore
VR Central
In VR Central, two fully interactive virtual reality systems place guests in the center of action in simulated environments. Guests at Flight Works Alabama will go beyond the physical boundaries of the facility in Mobile. They'll be able to tour inside the International Space Station or travel onboard an Airbus MRTT (Multi Role Tanker Transport) airborne command center. They will assist in a realistic at-sea H175 maritime helicopter rescue or take a futuristic ride on a CityAirbus VTOL (vertical take-off/landing) Air Taxi.
Innovate
Airbus Innovation
Beyond their fleet of passenger jet aircraft, Airbus is a world leader in space exploration, innovative rotorcraft, defense aviation, and advanced drone systems. Flight Works Alabama is proud to feature these important Airbus exhibits, including the Rosetta Mission satellite and lander and, an EFAN hybrid electric airplane. Guests will also see how Airbus satellites capture and can quickly compare aerial data showcase Airbus innovation and engineering excellence.