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Fundamentals of Flight

A Basic Introduction to Aerodynamics

The Four Forces of Flight

The four forces act on the airplane in flight

and also work against each other.
The Four Forces of Flight

The four forces act on the airplane in flight

and also work against each other.
The earth ’s g ravi ty pulls down
on objects an d gives th em
weigh t.

Weight counte rac ts lift.

What’s it take to create lift?
Air and motion.

How do we explain lift?

Newton’s Laws of Motion and
Bernoulli’s Principal are used to
explain lift.
Ne wton’s Seco nd L aw: f orce ca use s a ch ange
in ve loci ty w hich i n tu rn generat es anoth er
fo rce .
Ne wton’s Th ird Law: ne t fl ow o f a ir i s tu rn ed
down re su lt ing i n an ‘ equal and opposi te’
upward fo rce .
Newt on’s Third L aw stat es tha t for e very
action the re is an equa l and opp os ite
rea ction .
Venturi Tube
 Bernouli’s first
practical use of his
 Where are venturi
tubes used today?
Hold two sheets of
paper together, as
shown here, and blow
between them. No
matter how hard you
blow, you cannot push
them more than a little
bit apart!
Bernoulli’s Theory in Action

Air speeds up in the constricted space between

the car & truck creating a low-pressure area.
Higher pressure on the other outside pushes
them together.
What is a wing?

 A wing is really just

half a venturi tube.
A fluid (and air acts like a fluid) speeds up
as it moves through a constricted space

Ber noulli’ s P rinc iple state s that ,

as air spe eds up, its p ressure
goes down.
Bernoulli's Principle: slower
moving air belo w the wing cre ates
gre ater press ur e an d pushes u p.
Bernoulli’ s Princi ple: Ai r m ovi ng o ve r the
wi ng mo ve s faste r t han t he air b elow.
Fa ste r- movin g air above e xe rts less
pressu re o n th e w in g t han t he slower-
mo vi ng air be low. Th e resu lt is a n upwa rd
push on t he w ing--li ft!
Be rnoulli’ s P rinc ipa l: pr es sure
variation aroun d t he wing
results in a n et a erodynam ic
pushing up.
 http://
A wing creat es lift due to a
com bina tion o f Berno ul li’s Principal
& Newto n’s Third La w
Interactive Wright 1901 Wind

 Interactive Wright 1901 Wind Tunnel

Wing Shape
 Internal ribs define
the wings shape
This US Navy Carrier Jet has a very small wing, how can
it fly? Can you see the airfoil?
Why is the wing small?
What other aerodynamic devices can you see?
How can a n airplane f ly u ps ide down?
 http://
Pitch Around the Lateral Axis
Elevator Controls Pitch
co ntrols PI TC H.
On t he h ori zonta l
tail su rface , t he
eleva tor t ilts up
or down,
decr easi ng or
incr easi ng lif t o n
the t ail. This ti lts
the n ose of t he
airplane up a nd
Roll Around Longitudinal Axis
Ailerons Control Roll
co ntrol ROL L. O n
th e o uter rear e dge
of e ach wi ng, t he
tw o ail ero ns m ove
in o pposi te
direct io ns, up a nd
down, decr easi ng
lift o n one wi ng
wh ile inc reasi ng i t
on th e oth er. Th is
ca use s t he airplane
to ro ll to the l eft or
Yaw Around the vertical Axis
Rudder Controls Yaw
Th e RUDD ER co ntro ls
YAW. On th e ve rti ca l
tail fi n, t he rudder
sw ive ls from si de t o
si de, push ing t he ta il
in a l eft or right
direct ion. A p ilot
usu ally u se s th e
rud der a lo ng wi th t he
ailerons to tu rn t he
Vectors: Two Kinds in Aviation
 Vectors to final approach – instructions to a
pilot to steer a specific course “Turn left
heading 270, vectors to final approach course
Grand Junction.”

 A physics term to define magnitude and

 A physics term to
define magnitude
and direction.

Direction: 045 20

Magnitude: 20
45 o
 20What Units?
 Some unit of distance, force,
acceleration, time, etc.
 What good are
they? Or, “I was
told there would be
No Math!”

 They help us find

out what happens!

 Adding Vectors
together = Resultant
Vectors Lift

 Therefore, any
“vector” can be
“analyzed” or broken
down into horizontal
and vertical
Vectors: “The MATH”

 Pythagorean

 Properties
of right
Wh ich of t hese airpl anes will speed up?
Wh ich wi ll slow d own?
Drag is the force of
resis tance an aircraft ‘fee ls’
as it moves thr ough the air.
Fo r an a irp la ne to
ta ke o ff, li ft mu st
be greate r th an
we ight.

Fo r an a irp lan e to sp eed up w hile f lyin g,

thrust m ust be g reate r t han drag.
En gines (eith er jet or prope ller)
typicall y p rov id e th e t hrust f or
aircraft . When you fly a pape r
airplane , you gene rate the th rust.
A prope ller is a spinning
wing that g enerat es li ft
Wha t wi ll ha ppen when the fire- fighting
plan e drop s its load of water ?
Airpla ne Par ts