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Physics of flight

Christina H.


Have you ever looked up into the sky and seen a type of air craft fly over your head. Have you ever wondered how that is possible? Many people would think that since an airplane or helicopter is so heavy there is no way that something like that could fly through the air. But through physics aircraft can fly thorugh the sky. there are four basic components of flight: thrust, drag, lift and weight. Also Newton's first, second, and third laws apply to flying.

Newton's first law claims that everybody remains in a state of rest or uniform motion unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force. There will be no change in horizontal motion if the thrust equals the drag.

Newton's second law states a body of mass subjected to force undergoes and acceleration. This is where the equation Force equals mass times acceleration. (F=ma) newtons second law defines the amount of force produced by the lift needed to overcome the effects of gravity.

Newton's third law of motion says for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Lift, drag, weight, and thrust are all components that help the airplane fly and stay in the air.

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It is really amazing how planes are designed to carry the weight of passengers and luggage. Also the weight of gas must be accounted for while landing so that pilots don't land too hard!

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