Airplanes; The Invention Of And How They Fly

1864 words - 7 pages

A pilot does not have to be an aeronautical engineer to learn to fly an airplane. However, it is a good idea to have good knowledge of aerodynamics and flight theory to be able to fly safely. There are four basic components in making an airplane fly, lift, drag, thrust, and weight. All of these work in unison to make a plane stay in the air. If one of the first three is taken out of the equation, gravity and weight will take over and cause the plane to descend. It is up to the pilot to understand how to make them equal in order to keep the airplane in flight or descend at an acceptable rate, in order to safely land the airplane. Before staring work to get a pilot’s license it would be a good idea to understand several aspects before the journey to one day pilot an airplane. How aircraft flight began, the aerodynamics and controls of an airplane. This is a good starting point and must be understood by all pilots.
Most everyone assumes the Wright brothers were the first people to create a flying craft. After all, the slogan on all North Carolina vehicle license plates reads “First in Flight,” which is true in the aspect of human flight. However, the first artificial wing was created by an English gentleman by the name of Geoprge Cayley in 1799 (Highfield). In the 18th and 19th centuries scientist as well as the public laughed at the possibility of flying using an artificial wing. Cayley paid no attention to all of the negative rhetoric and continued his experiments, building more sophisticated flying machines until 1853 when he made a full scale glider flown by his grandson (Highfield). He tried including combustion engines into his flying machines with no success. It was 50 years later the Wright brothers would include the combustion engine to their aircraft encompassing all of Cayle’s theories and making the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air human flight (Heppenheimer).
Lift is one of the most contested components of airplane flight. There are different theories in how an airplane reacts to air being rushed over its wings. In all actuality the entire airplane promotes lift. Often it is forgotten how the top portion of the airplane and wing plays just as an important role in creating lift as the bottom of the airplane and wing. As stated in How Airplanes Fly “Lift is the force that directly opposes the weight of an airplane and holds the airplane in the air” (Eberhardt). Lift must overcome or be equal to the weight of the airplane (Eichenberger). Lift is produced as the air flows over the body and wings of the airplane as it is moving forward. The wings help to develop most of the lift due to their design. They come in different shapes and sizes, from short wings to very long wings, even a propeller of a helicopter is considered a wing. No matter what size or shape, wings are designed to create lift. According to Newton’s third law, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This means the lift of...

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