Ever wondered how planes fly?

Find It Out

For this question we will use the most obvious plane that everyone is used to and most has flown on before: a jet engine airliner. Of course the first thing that people notice and hear are the actual jet engines, which is a lot noisier than a propeller engine, which a private pilot might own. While these engines do help in the flying process, in moving forward, they are not the key factor in the actual flight. Think about gliders, paper plans, and even birds that are able to fly without engines!

The key factor is the wings of the aircraft. When the engines push the plane forward, air is able to rapidly flow over the wings, allowing that air to be thrown down to the ground. This creates an upward force which is called lift, a force that overcomes the plane's initial wait, making it rise and hold in the sky. So now that we know that the engine makes the plane move forward and the wings make it move upward, we can look at the reason behind it all.

When a shape (wing) is thrown into the airflow and that flow goes over the curved upper part of the wing it has to go a further distance but goes faster than the air that goes underneath the wing. Bernoulli's law states that air that moves fast contains a lower pressure than the air that moves slow, thus creating what we just discussed as lift.

Try It Out

  • Activity 1: Bernoulli on a Straw: this applies the Bernoulli Principle to an easy and at home project that can be created by a couple of supplies that most would have in their household or can purchase for an extremely small fee. The link is located below this post to know the directions of the project.
  • Activity 2: Hot Wings: this is a project that also discusses Bernolli's Law by using hot wheels and a manila folder that is cut in the shape of a wing. The full directions can be profiled on the link below.

Click Here for the Link to the activities