The Physics of Flying

This plane is flying at 30,000 feet thanks to physics! At rest the air molecules are hitting the wings equally from all sides. But when in motion the curvature and angle of the wing causes more air molecules to hit the bottom of the wings than the top also they hit harder. Because of this lift is created and as long as the lift can overcome gravity, were in the air! But all of that crashing of air molecules does slow the plane down, that’s why we need to generate thrust with the engines to over come this. So now that we’ve overcame our equal and opposite reactions were in the air at 30,000 feet, but why is the standard cruising altitude at 30,000 feet. Well at 30,000 feet planes can fly over big storms and prevent most turbulence which saves fuel and makes the ride more comfortable. But why don’t we fly higher you may ask, well it all comes down to a matter of oxygen. At 30,000 feet there is less oxygen for jet engines to combust with. So if we went much higher we would have to pack extra oxygen for the engines and that would increase costs. So now you can rest easy knowing that if any one of these principles were not applied properly your plane could end up like Tin can falling down to earth like space ship with no heat shield!

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Science Dude

Chase Wiley is a 14 year-old from Florida who loves science and fishing.

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