Airborne Experiment

If you happen to travel to the busiest airport in Canada, Toronto Pearson International Airport, you would just be one in about 31 million that visited it that year. But ever wonder how airplanes fly?

What’s it all about?

A large part of the reason a plane can stay in the air is due to its wings. The shape of the wing allows Bernoulli’s principle to take place. Bernoulli’s principle states that as the speed of a moving substance increases the pressure of that substance will decrease. In the case of the wing, it is curved which divides the airflow leaving some to go over the wing and some to flow under it. The air has to travel a greater distance over the top of the wing versus beneath it. This creates a higher pressure beneath the wing than above it and the difference in pressures causes the wing to push upwards creating a force called lift.  Lift is the force responsible for staying in the air but there are a couple other main forces such as drag and thrust that also affect flight. Drag is causes by the resistance of the air on the plane. Drag works in opposition to the direction the plane is moving. Thrust is the force that helps overcome drag. Thrust is created by the planes engine and must be greater than the drag force or the plane will be unable to move.

What does it mean?

Lift - is an upward force that acts perpendicular to the drag force, which opposes gravity pulling it back down to earth
Drag - friction between moving objects in a liquid, such as air

Who uses it?

  • Aircraft Engineer
  • Aircraft Structure Technician
  • Avionics Technician
  • Aircraft Pilot

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