Micro Life Zone
Asked by redranga to Arti, Chris, Dustin, James, Steven on 18 May 2012. This question was also asked by princess3498.
Keywords: aeronautics, airbus, airplane, flying, gravitiy, ground, heavy, lift, weight
It doesn’t seem right does it. The others may have more to add to this but planes use a combination of thrust (being pushed forward by the engines) and manipulation of wind direction by the wings to stay in the air. The wings have little foils on the back that slow down the air moving underneath them. Because of this air and wind builds up under the wing and because this doesn’t happen on top of the wing it creates a balloon of air under the wings that the plane sort of floats on. Its a lot more complicated than that which is why most aerospace engineering (these guys design planes) degrees are more than 5 years long.
Yeah it is very cool.
The simple answer is that the up force (lift) is more than the down force (gravity).
So how to make it work? This is much easier with a picture (there is a link to a video at the bottom) but briefly.
The thrust from the engines causes the plane to move forward through the air. So this means that the air needs to rush over the wing. In doing so it changes direction with the air being pushed down, because of this, the wing and therefore the plane is pushed up.
But on top of this, the Airbus is also made from new composite materials, which make it lighter and stronger. And it has some seriously big engines that provide a lot of thrust.
Link to vid
James and Dustin have covered this pretty well.
I’ll just add that the shape of aeroplane wings is very important for them to be able to fly.
The planes wings in cross-section form a shape called an ‘aerofoil’ – they are flatter on the bottom and more curved on the top. (Google for aeroplane wing cross-section to find some pictures) This shape helps them to create lift when the plane is moving forwards. ‘Lift’ is the name of the upward force that helps the plane fly (‘drag’ is the opposite force, it wants to make the plane land). Having an aerofoil shaped wing helps to create lift and minimise drag as the plane moves forwards and as the air moves over the wings.
If you’ve ever noticed the shape of the spoiler on a car, it is an upside-down aerofoil – this helps to press the car further downwards as it travels forward so that the car will go faster (and not take off from the road!).
By BRIDGE8 under license from Mangorolla CIC 2023