How Important Is Cross-section Shape Of Wing?

Date:         27 Mar 2001 16:05:19 
From:         bbarksdl@aol.com (BBarksdl)
Organization: AOL http://www.aol.com
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In the April issue of Discover magazine, Robert Kunzig challanges the textbook
explanation of the principles of flight. I have always felt the books were
wrong on this when they say that the shape of the wing invokes Bernoulli's
Principle to provide the lift required. Kunzig refutes the role of Bernoulli's
Principle. He says that planes fly by pushing air down, getting lift from the
equal and opposite reaction that pushes the plane up. I'm trying to reconcile
that with my own thoughts on the subject - that the forces that cause an
airplane to fly are essentially the same as those that cause a kite to fly.
Either way you look at it, the shape of the wing is not the main element.
Otherwise, how could a plane fly upside-down? As an old barnstormer was
reported to have said, "Give me enough power, and I'll fly a barn door."