Aircraft are man-made vehicles intended to operate while flying through Earth's atmosphere.

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Paper plane between two fans - is this possible?

The setup: two fans facing each other, distance around 1m. Both are turned on. In between them, place a simple paper plane and according to this video, it will fly. ...
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323 views

Why ballasted gliders fly faster

The fact: Gliders have ballast tanks that can be filled with water. The addition of ballast increases weight, and this allows the glider to fly at faster airspeeds while maintaining the same glide ...
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What is the optimal design for a paper airplane? (Or, at least, how can you approach it?)

Having only really known two designs for paper airplanes since my days as a child, one which flies about eight feet and another which flies about ten feet, I have always wondered how people manage to ...
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Turning an Airplane. What actually causes the circular motion in a banked (roll) turn?

Basically I'm wondering if this is correct. Which essentially says that you need a torque to get the nose of the craft to turn and that this is provided by the rear tail surfaces. After trying to ...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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Why aren't stratospheric balloons compressing their helium to descent?

I can't find a reference of a working stratospheric balloon mounted with a compressor to control its altitude. Is there a big physical difficulty (such as compressor weight/power ratio, or power ...
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3answers
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Flying a toy helicopter inside an accelerating train [duplicate]

Scenario: You ride in a train, you have this helicopter toy. The train is not yet running when you flew your helicopter on a constant altitude (say 1 meter above the train's floor). Question: What ...
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7answers
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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 ...
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660 views

Does “Air caterpillar” exist or even possible?

Air-Elf Aircraft Concept Is Able to Take-off or Land Vertically Air-Elf aircraft concept is to solve road congestion. The core of the concept is a new type of wing, “Air Caterpillar”. It can be ...
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How fast can toy helicopters change the turning direction of their propellers?

I saw someone do some tricks with a toy helicopter where he would turn it upside down for a while and it would still stay in the air. I thought it should have crash or at least not fly for very long ...
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In-flight damage to a supersonic jet

I'm doing some research for a book I'm writing, and, as the title implies, I'm looking to understand what happens when a supersonic jet sustains in-flight damage. Specifically, what happens to the ...
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2answers
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What happens when a supersonic airplane flies through a cloud?

What happens when a supersonic airplane flies through a cloud? Will it punch a hole or is it more like a bullet through water (= hole closes immediately after the aircraft has passed)? Is there some ...
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3answers
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Could a real-life X-Wing fly in Earth's atmosphere?

From an aerodynamic point of view, could a full-size aircraft of X-Wing design fly in Earth's atmosphere? Assuming you were free to add control surfaces here and there, could the wings in open ...
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238 views

Why does aircraft tail not project down from the fuselage? [closed]

Just what the title states; I was browsing photographs and it struck me how aircraft tails typically 'stand' atop the fuselage. A few aircraft (think it dates to the 40s-50s) have a tail that projects ...
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96 views

Practical personal aircraft today? [closed]

Is it possible to build, today, a personal aircraft that not use an impracticable amount of fuel for everyday use? What are the physical concepts that could be used to build it?
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1answer
654 views

How does a V formation save fuel for the lead plane?

I'm watching an episode of Mythbusters where they show aircraft saving 3-5% fuel when flying in a tight V formation. Interestingly, this also applies for the lead airplane. How is that possible for ...
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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 ...
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Why does an airliner burn more fuel at lower altitudes?

At lower altitude an aeroplane usually has more lift. However an aeroplane flying at low altitudes (with gear/flaps up) at low velocity burns the same amount of fuel it would flying much faster at a ...
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Does the rotation of the earth dramatically affect airplane flight time?

Say I'm flying from Sydney, to Los Angeles (S2LA), back to Sydney (LA2S). During S2LA, travelling with the rotation of the earth, would the flight time be longer than LA2S on account of Los Angeles ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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Does my model aircraft propeller beat the sound barrier?

I fly model aircraft. Recently I changed from a "1300kv" motor to a "1500kv" motor. The difference is in speed; the 1300kv can go about 16,400rpm full-throttle and with a fully charged battery and the ...
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2answers
553 views

Given a radius and velocity calculate position of an aircraft banking to make a turn in three dimensional space

Suppose an aircraft is moving at a certain fixed altitude above the ground. It follows a path defined by latitude and longitude. Now if we want to define the position of an aircraft at any point in ...
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670 views

What does cross-track wind mean?

In aircraft literature, what does cross-track and along-track wind directions mean? Please explain in terms of the aircraft's motion relative to the wind direction. I can hazard a guess: along-track ...
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2answers
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Paper airplane physics

I am working on a game involving flying and steering a paper airplane for WP7. I want the plane to fly just like how normal paper airplanes fly (see this game for an example ...
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Why do space crafts take off with rockets instead of just ascending like an aircraft until they reach space?

I guess it's not a very educated question, but I never quite understood why spacecrafts have to shoot up and can't just reach space by simply continuing an upwards ascent like an airplane.
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time difference with airplane travel direction

a fight from east to west, (e.g. Australia melbourne to perth) takes longer than travel backwards. (west to east). What's the reason?
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1answer
285 views

How much friction is caused by a 10x10 cm window on the side of an airplane?

Say that the airplane is going in 1000 km/h. On the side of the airplane, there is a 10x10 cm window. How much friction would this window cause. For the sake of the calculation, imagine that the ...
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4answers
648 views

Why does an airplane have more lift near the ground?

I've noticed that an airplane appears to have more lift when it's almost touching the ground then it has 100 feet or more in the air. What causes this to occur?
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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 ...