27
votes
13answers
2k views

What does a wing do that an engine can't?

This isn't a question of how a wing works -- vortex flow, Bernoulli's principle, all of that jazz. Instead, it's a question of why we need a wing at all. A wing produces lift, but why is that ...
1
vote
2answers
482 views

Are the hypotheses of the Bernoulli equation satisfied for a bird or airplane wing at low Mach number?

A previous question by David Zaslavsky was a request for a broad, "how things work" type of explanation of the lift of an airfoil. The answers given there are enlightening, but don't address a more ...
2
votes
2answers
404 views

Forces on an airfoil

I'm building an airplane (Super Baby Great Lakes) and I'm wondering something about airfoils. In particular (this plane is fabric covered), I'm wondering about the lifting forces on the main wings. ...
-2
votes
2answers
436 views

Why does the higher pressure of air underneath an aeroplane wing keep it flying?

With aeroplane flight, the wings are shaped so that the air that goes over the top of the wing has to travel faster than the air that goes below the wing. This means that the air below the wing has ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

How much lift does an airplane get from its wings, vs the rest of the airframe?

Consider a big commercial airliner, like a 727, 747, or a 787. At cruising altitude, under standard conditions, how much of the lift of the aircraft comes from the wings, and how much from the rest ...
8
votes
5answers
3k views

Does it take significantly more fuel to fly a heavier airplane?

I was reading in the papers how some-airline-or-the-other increased their prices for extra luggage, citing increased fuel costs. Now I'm a bit skeptical. Using the (wrong) Bernoulli-effect ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do aircraft inner wings lose lift when turning?

first question here, so please be gentle! I'm reading an entry-level engineering course book and am currently up to discussion of aircraft design. There's one particular statement that is unclear to ...
19
votes
2answers
9k views

How can airplanes fly upside down?

I've read many times, including here on this very site that the commonly known explanation of flight is wrong, and that airplanes can fly because the shape of their wings deflects air down. This makes ...
110
votes
6answers
13k views

What really allows airplanes to fly?

What aerodynamic effects actually contribute to producing the lift on an airplane? I know there's a common belief that lift comes from the Bernoulli effect, where air moving over the wings is at ...