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WoP #13: Falling with Style


SgtLongcoat

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In the previous post, I referenced a quote from Toy Story, said by Woody after Buzz is first introduced, in response to Buzz's stunt around Andy's room. If you haven't seen the first Toy Story (which I don't know why you wouldn't have by now) turn away now before I spoil a minor part of the end of the movie. You know who you are. Alright, here it goes...

At the end of the movie, Woody and Buzz are trying to get back to Andy, and have to chase a moving van on RC. In the process, Buzz lights a firecracker that was attached to his back, sending him and Woody into the air to eventually fly down into Andy's car. Simple, right? Well it is, until you realize that Buzz and Woody, even if you refer to what they did as gliding, shouldn't have been able to stay aloft. Disney's artistic physics license implies that Buzz's "wings" were enough to keep both him and Woody aloft, due to air resistance. While the pressure differential above and below the wings due to moving air would cause that in real life, the shape of Buzz's wings don't allow that. Because Buzz's wings are flat, the amount of air pushing up on the wings will equal the amount of air pushing down on the wings. If you don't believe this, just look at any airplane. The curvature of the wings is what allows air resistance to keep the plane aloft in the first place. In short, Buzz's flight was impossible, and would have been even more difficult while carrying Woody. 

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