Re: How Important Is Cross-section Shape Of Wing?

Date:         31 Mar 2001 16:43:08 
From:         Ron Parsons <>
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In article <airliners.2001.70@ditka.Chicago.COM>, (BBarksdl) wrote:

>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."

He is correct. Bernoulli's equations are for use in a lab situation. If
you have one set of readings, they will predict another set of readings.

To understand flight, apply Newton's mass/accelaration calculations.

The shape or cross section of the wing has a great deal to do with
reducing drag, and almost nothing to do with "lift" which is one of
those bogus terms for something which doesn't exist.