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Forces Acting on an Airplane

17 Sep

Four forces act upon an aircraft in relation to straight-and-level, unaccelerated flight. These forces are thrust, lift (upthrust), weight, and drag.


Thrust is the forward force produced by the powerplant/propeller. It opposes or overcomes the force of drag. Weight is the combined load of the airplane itself, the crew, the fuel, and the cargo or baggage. Weight pulls the airplane downward because of the force of gravity. It opposes lift, and acts vertically downward through the airplane’s center of gravity (CG). Lift opposes the downward force of weight, is produced by the dynamic effect of the air acting on the wing, and acts perpendicular to the flightpath through the wing’s center of lift.
Drag and weight are forces inherent in anything lifted from the earth and moved through the air. Thrust and lift are artificially created forces used to overcome the forces of nature and enable an airplane to fly. The engine and propeller combination is designed to produce thrust to overcome drag. The wing is designed to produce lift to overcome the weight (or gravity).

 
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Posted by on 17/09/2011 in Chapter 5 - Motion

 

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