Flying a plane is tough because it behaves strangely and is quite tricky to handle. You need to develop an instinct to quickly handle stuff on board. Take this for an example: if you want your airplane to go up, you point its nose up; but you point its nose too up, and you lose your lift, and you go down. So, most of the things won’t come up in your mind without knowing how it flies. If you type “How does an airplane fly” on Google, you’ll get this image:

Now, when I saw this picture for the first time, I thought, hey I know what gravity is and yes, it should undoubtedly pull the airplane down, so that makes sense. The airplane’s just an object moving through a fluid, and so it should experience a drag. Moreover, I knew something vaguely about jet engines, so thrust was making sense. But wait, how do you “lift” the plane up? That was a mystery for me.

In this week’s edition, we’ll learn how does an airplane lift up countering the gravitational force.

What you’ll learn this week:

Wings: Angle of attack, its variation with speed, stalling at high angle of attack; Different gaits of an airplane: Dive, Glide, Climb; Lift & Buoyancy

What you need to know before reading this module:

Gravity, Fluid, Drag in fluids, Newton’s Third Law of Motion

Contents

  1. Lift and Angle of Attack
  2. The Area Rule
  3. Center of Lift and Center of Mass