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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 earths gravity pulls down on
objects and gives them weight.

Weight counteracts lift.

Whats it take to create lift?
Air and motion.

How do we explain lift?

Newtons Laws of Motion and
Bernoullis Principal are used to
explain lift.
Newtons Second Law: force causes a change in
velocity which in turn generates another force.
Newtons Third Law: net flow of air is turned down
resulting in an equal and opposite upward force.
Newtons Third Law states that for every action
there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Venturi Tube
Bernoulis 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!
Bernoullis 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

Bernoullis Principle states that, as air

speeds up, its pressure goes down.
Bernoulli's Principle: slower moving
air below the wing creates greater
pressure and pushes up.
Bernoullis Principle: Air moving over the wing
moves faster than the air below. Faster-moving
air above exerts less pressure on the wing than
the slower-moving air below. The result is an
upward push on the wing--lift!
Bernoullis Principal: pressure
variation around the wing results in
a net aerodynamic pushing up.
A wing creates lift due to a combination
of Bernoullis Principal & Newtons Third
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 an airplane fly upside down?
Pitch Around the Lateral Axis
Elevator Controls Pitch
controls PITCH. On
the horizontal tail
surface, the elevator
tilts up or down,
decreasing or
increasing lift on the
tail. This tilts the
nose of the airplane
up and down.
Roll Around Longitudinal Axis
Ailerons Control Roll
control ROLL. On the
outer rear edge of
each wing, the two
ailerons move in
opposite directions,
up and down,
decreasing lift on one
wing while increasing
it on the other. This
causes the airplane to
roll to the left or right.
Yaw Around the vertical Axis
Rudder Controls Yaw
The RUDDER controls
YAW. On the vertical tail
fin, the rudder swivels
from side to side,
pushing the tail in a left
or right direction. A pilot
usually uses the rudder
along with the ailerons
to turn the airplane.
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
20 What 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


of right
Which of these airplanes will speed up?
Which will slow down?
Drag is the force of resistance an
aircraft feels as it moves through
the air.
For an airplane to
take off, lift must be
greater than weight.

For an airplane to speed up while flying, thrust

must be greater than drag.
Engines (either jet or propeller) typically
provide the thrust for aircraft. When you
fly a paper airplane, you generate the
A propeller is a spinning wing
that generates lift forward.
What will happen when the fire-fighting
plane drops its load of water?
Airplane Parts