4 base principles of flight

When flight training I found that once I knew the following, everything else seemed to make sense. Unfortunately they do not tell you this until you get into the aerodynamic forces portion of the curriculum.

As always, I post this here because it helped me, but I expect you to verify everything for yourself before trusting the internet. I am not an instructor nor an expert in the field.

that said….

Newton’s first law: A body at rest tends to remain at rest, a body in motion tends to remain moving at the same speed and in the same and in the same direction. For example, an airplane at rest on the ramp will remain at rest unless a force is applied which is strong enough to overcome the airplane’s inertia.

Newton’s second law: When a body is acted upon by a constant force, its resulting acceleration is inversely proportional to the mass of the body and is directly proportional to the applied force. This law may be expressed by the formula:

Force = mass x acceleration (F = ma).

Newton’s third law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This principle applies whenever two things act upon each other, such as the air and the propeller, or the air and the wing of an airplane.

Bernoulli’s principle: As the velocity of a fluid (air) increases, its internal pressure decreases.

The larger curve of the top of the wing causes air to move faster as it passes over. This causes a drop in pressure (based on Bernoulli’s principle) and thus creates lift on the top portion of this wing. There are other forces at work producing lift (and drag) but this concept is important.

If the airflow over the wing changes speed drastically this is likely to lose its lift. When this disruption occurs you may notice the wings “buffeting” or the feeling of turbulence. The wing is now at least partially stalled.

Why would the airflow over the top of a wing change? Usually because the Angle Of Attack (AOA) is too high relative to the direction of the wind. (And higher speeds usually equal higher wind forces from the front of the wing/plane)

Happy flying,



About K0FEY

I am a member of the Eden Prairie Radio club. This is a Minnesota Ham Radio Enthusiast club and we promote experimentation and learning through the Amateur Radio hobby. Come check into a net on Sunday with us or better yet meet us in person on the 3rd Thursday of the month.
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