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Braking Planes

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This past weekend my family flew to New York City, and as I thought about all the blog posts I had left to write, I tried to figure out what I could write about. And then, as we were landing, I realized that there was a lot of physics in the way a plane stops. Planes are able to travel at extremely high speeds and stop fairly quickly. What I didn’t know though, was what was used in planes as a braking system. It turns out that this can very with different planes. Some use a reverse thrust system, which means that the engines will kind of work “backwards.” By applying a force backwards, the equal and opposite reaction is for the plane to slow down as two forces work against each other. There are also speed brakes on the wings of the plane, which are the parts that flip upwards when landing. These increase drag, which also allows the plane to slow down.


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