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The simple physics of aerodynamically generated lift and drag and other forces that enable an aircraft to fly is discussed. A fluid flowing past the surface of a body exerts a surface force on it. Lift is defined to be the component of this force that is perpendicular to the oncoming flow direction.It contrasts with the drag force, which is defined to be the component of the surface force parallel to the flow direction. If the fluid is air, the force is called an aerodynamic force. An airfoil is a streamlined shape that is capable of generating significantly more lift than drag. Aerodynamic lift is commonly associated with the wing of a fixed-wing aircraft, although lift is also generated by propellers; helicopter rotors; rudders, sails and keels on sailboats; hydrofoils; wings on auto racing cars; wind turbines and other streamlined objects. While common meanings of the word "lift" suggest that lift opposes gravity, lift can be in any direction. When an aircraft is flying straight and level (cruise) most of the lift opposes gravity. However, when an aircraft is climbing, descending, or banking in a turn, for example, the lift is tilted with respect to the vertical.Lift may also be entirely downwards in some aerobatic manoeuvres, or on the wing on a racing car. In this last case, the term downforce is often used. Lift may also be horizontal, for instance on a sail on a sailboat. Non-streamlined objects such as bluff bodies and plates (not parallel to the flow) may also generate lift when moving relative to the fluid. This lift may be steady, or it may oscillate due to vortex shedding. Interaction of the object's flexibility with the vortex shedding may enhance the effects of fluctuating lift and cause vortex-induced vibrations.

Source Information

Department of Transportation
Federal Aviation Administration

How Airplanes Fly
NTIS AVA08357VNB1

This movie is part of the collection: FedFlix
Producer: Department of Transportation
Audio/Visual: sound, color
Keywords: FedFlix; ntis.gov

Creative Commons license: Public Domain

 

 
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Keywords
aerodynamics  lift  drag  bernoulli  airplane    
 
 About This Video
 
 Subject Aeronautics and Astronautics
 Category Demonstration
 Duration 00:18:29
 Views 4476
 Added 25-06-10
 Contributor    autocrawler
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