Podcast #128: We chat with Kent C Dodds about why he loves React and discuss what life was like in the dark days before Git. Listen now.

Questions tagged [aircraft]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
244
votes
14answers
69k 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 ...
42
votes
2answers
51k 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 ...
32
votes
13answers
3k 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 ...
24
votes
12answers
10k views

Why do spacecrafts 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.
22
votes
6answers
4k views

Is speed of propeller-driven airplane limited by the speed of sound?

Mine line of thoughts goes like this: A propeller is effectively pushing itself away from molecules of air. The best any propeller can do is to create total vacuum in the front of itself. The ...
22
votes
4answers
174k views

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 ...
21
votes
6answers
13k views

Why planes have propellers in front but watercraft have them behind?

Why do propeller airplanes mostly have their propellers in front (of the fuselage or wings) while ships and boats mostly have them at the back? I realize that there are aircraft with pusher ...
20
votes
2answers
5k views

Why can't supersonic planes “just fly higher” to go faster while maintaining cost?

First post to this site, and I've got at most a high school background in physics - I really appreciate any answer, but I may not be able to follow you if you're too advanced. I suppose this goes for ...
18
votes
4answers
4k views

Why do jet engines sound louder on the ground than inside the aircraft?

Everyone is familiar with the whirring sound of jet engines when seeing an aircraft taking off from a nearby airport. It is distinctly very loud on the ground and one can hear it even when the ...
17
votes
3answers
20k views

What causes an aircraft to roll when rudder is applied

When continuous rudder is applied in a typical light aircraft during straight and level flight at "normal" flying speeds and altitudes, the primary effect is that the aircraft will yaw to the left - ...
16
votes
4answers
823 views

Can you “rewind” sound messages by going supersonic? [duplicate]

I was having a discussion with a friend about supersonic flights. It was then when he proposed an idea on an interesting experiment that can be done during a supersonic flight. The experiment goes ...
15
votes
8answers
9k 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 ...
11
votes
7answers
62k views

What will happen if a plane trys to take off whilst on a treadmill?

So this has puzzled me for many a year... I still am no closer to coming to a conclusion, after many arguments that is. I don't think it can, others 100% think it will. If you have a plane trying to ...
11
votes
4answers
5k views

How much effect does the Bernoulli effect have on lift?

I understand that the Bernoulli effect is a flawed explanation for the cause of lift, and does not cause much at all, but how much? Is there any experimental data on the force caused by the ...
11
votes
3answers
6k views

why aren't there nuclear powered aircraft?

I know this might sound like more of an engineering question that about physics, and it probably is, but bear with me: i'm still not sure if the answer to my question lies in the physics or in the ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Movie airplanes and suction

Having watched a recent action movie (with zombies in it) I wondered whether the suction from a hole in the airplane's hull would really be able to rip out luggage, persons and even seating benches. ...
9
votes
3answers
508 views

Airplane with banner in a windy day

Will the banner of this airplane be always in the proper direction if the airplane flies in any direction on a windy day?
9
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
9
votes
2answers
5k views

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 ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Trying to understand jet engine [closed]

I'm trying to understand at a high level how a jet engine works. I want to know if the following summary I wrote is more or less accurate: The jet compresses regular air into a combustion chamber. ...
8
votes
7answers
7k views

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 ...
8
votes
3answers
664 views

Why Does A Ramjet Produce Net Forward Thrust

So every (non-technical) explanation of ramjets I've seen talks about how the intake slows and pressurizes the incoming air before combustion but then takes for granted the fact that burning fuel ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...
7
votes
4answers
1k 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?
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Beryllium Vacuum Sphere Boat/Aircraft [closed]

Is it possible to make a solid rigid evacuated "balloon" out of Beryllium or other elements or alloys? The critical buckling pressure at which an evacuated sphere is given as $$ P_1=\frac{2E\cdot\...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

How could this small nuclear reactor power two jet engines?

In the 1950s, the US was working on an Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion and it is stated that they successfuly operated two modified General Electric J47 jet engines using a 2.5 MW (thermal) nuclear ...
6
votes
3answers
552 views

atmospheric phenomenon? What causes condensation trails to converge?

This air plane just caught my eye. Two contrails apparently are flowing backward, slightly off-centered and then ultimately converge, giving the overall shape of a very narrow rhomboid parallelogram, ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Can a hovering helicopter travel half the globe in 12 hours? [duplicate]

Suppose we have a helicopter that is able to stay stationary in flight for extended periods of time. If such a helicopter stayed at point A in the sky for 12 hours straight, would it reach the other ...
5
votes
1answer
447 views

why can't you use your cellphone on an airplane? [closed]

why airplanes are banned with use of cellphones? What were the impacts while we answer an call or make an call ,what was the physical reason behind the ban of using cellphone inside airplanes ? I ...
5
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
4k views

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?
5
votes
3answers
12k views

Could a real-life X-Wing fly in Earth's atmosphere? [closed]

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
107 views

Do planes have to be noisy?

I tend to think of noise as an undesirable waste of energy because the generator was not designed for that purpose. But that doesnt mean this waste can be avoided. So I wonder how much of this noise ...
5
votes
1answer
9k views

Effect of Earth's magnetic field on aeroplanes?

As an aeroplane accelerates through the Earth's B-field, it experiences a changing flux $d\phi \over dt$ and a potential difference is induced along its wings. Given the wings are made of metal and ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is an Aircraft Runway NOT like a Teaspoon?

If the aircraft runway were like a teaspoon (by this I mean, flat in the beginning, then curving downwards and finally upwards), would it not work in favor of the propulsion of the aircraft? In spite ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does an airplane need to climb during a takeoff even if it is in emergency situation?

Right after take-off (which means an airplane already exceeded V1) it is recommended that an airplane keeps climbing even when emergency occurs. Beside worries of crashing into houses and buildings by ...
4
votes
3answers
7k views

Why do vapour cones form around jet fighters?

Apparently this phenomenon has nothing to do with jets breaking the sound barrier and has something to do with the Prandtl-Glauert singularity as described on Wikipedia. But, the Wikipedia article isn'...
4
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
71 views

Is it possible that a plane in turbulences has more downward acceleration than gravity's

In multiple Hollywood movies and TV shows I've seen scenes where a plane enters turbulences and for a moment the people in the plane seem to move upwards relative to the plane. As far as I know, as ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Relative motion of airplane in the wind [closed]

I have a relative motion problem in which I cannot get my answer to match the book answer. The question is: An airplane has to travel $189\, \mathrm{km}$ due east to point $B$ from point $A$. It ...
4
votes
2answers
173 views

Sonic Boom in Aircraft and Spacecraft

I would like to know why aircraft, and spacecraft produce a double sonic boom on breaking the sound barrier. A while ago, I thought I got it, as there’s a start and finish point to every vehicle. ...
4
votes
1answer
175 views

How to relate wingtips vortices with the energy loss it engenders?

On planes, wingtips vortices engender a loss in terms of lift, and an incresed of the drag, so an energy loss. Is there any possibilty to find a mathematical model relating both ? Thanks for the help.
3
votes
2answers
104 views

Is the physics behind planetary travel simpler than atmospheric travel?

I've been watching a bunch of documentaries lately and had a question that I couldn't really figure out the answer to online. When spacecraft travel through space, are the equations and physics used ...
3
votes
3answers
95 views

Strange optical distortion in a video recorded from an airplane window

I recorded this video from an airplane window while it was decreasing its elevation. What is the explanation for this optical distortion? This distortion appeared only in a certain range of elevation. ...
3
votes
4answers
11k views

Why does moving air have low pressure?

According to Wikipedia lift in an aircraft is due to an area of low pressure formed above the wings of an aircraft due to the fast moving air there. So why exactly is an area of low pressure created ...
3
votes
3answers
5k views

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 http://armorgames.com/play/...
3
votes
1answer
100 views

Why is it a sonic “boom” and not a sonic “boooooooooooooooo…m”?

As I understand it, when an object pushes past the sound barrier, a sonic boom doesn't happen just once, but rather, continually (correct me if I'm wrong). So why is it that there seems to be only a ...
3
votes
2answers
157 views

Why is an airplane able to increase thrust without moving?

I was just watching some documentaries and saw planes building up power in the turbines without moving. I thought about it and remembered, that this happens before every take off. So, why is this ...
3
votes
3answers
400 views

How to compute the speed necessary for an airplane to fly?

I give some physics lessons to a friend. She asked me a question that I am unable to answer. Could you help me ? A plane has a weight of $2\times10^6$kg. The surface of the wing is $1200 \text{m}^2$. ...