Airplanes - How do they fly?
Have you ever sat in the seat of a jumbo jet and wondered how it's able to fly through the air while loaded with passengers, cargo and fuel?
Let's take a closer look at how a wing is able to lift airplanes both large and small off the ground.
As an aircraft's wing slices through the air it pushes air over its top and under it's bottom surface. A wing's curved shape is designed to cause air to move at a higher speed over its top surface compared to its bottom surface. A principle in physics states that faster moving air has lower pressure than slower moving air, meaning that there's more pressure on the bottom of the wing than on the top of the wing. The higher pressure air pushes up on the bottom of the wing and the result is lift.
The angle of the wing relative to the air that it slices through, called the Angle of Attack, also contributes to the wing's lift. A wing at a higher Angle of Attack generates more lift than a wing at a lower Angle of Attack.
When an aircraft begins takeoff its wing produces no lift because there's no air flowing over it. However, as the aircraft's speed increases the wing generates more lift and when the pilot increases the aircraft's angle of attack the plane takes off.
The next time you're flying in the sky you'll appreciate how an airplane's wing is lifting you to your next destination. Happy Flying.