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Q & A: Flight of the Airplane

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
what are some physics priciples regarding airplanes?
- kim gonzalez
sacred heart, cebu, philippines
A:
The most imporant physics of an airplane is what keeps it in the air. It wouldn't be good for the airplane to drop out of the sky. That's why it has wings, just like a bird.

The wings work on what is call the Bernoulli effect. Because of the shape of the wing, the air travels faster over the top over the top of the wing than is does underneath. The different speeds will cause the wing to lift up.

There's an easy experiment you can do to see this. Take an ordinary piece of paper. Hold it at one end with the other hanging toward the ground. Blow over the top of the paper. You will see the hanging end of the paper rise up. That's because you are blowing air faster over the top of the paper, just like a wing.

Adam

(published on 10/22/2007)

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