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How do planes fly?

Posted in Aerospace, Aviation, Famous Inventors, Inventions on Tuesday, 31 May 2011

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This edited article about aerodynamics originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 954 published on 3 May 1980.

early plane, picture, image, illustration

Sir George Cayley’s early design for an aeroplane crashes, by Ferdinando Tacconi

How does an aeroplane get off the ground? The answer lies in the aeroplane’s wings, which are designed to make the air moving over them provide the necessary lift to get the plane airborne. The top surface of the wing is curved whereas the underside is relatively straight. Air moving over the top surface of the wing travels faster than the air going underneath. This causes a lower air pressure on top of the wing and a higher pressure below. This difference in pressure sucks the wings up and pulls the aeroplane into the air.

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