How Airplanes Fly

Have you ever wondered, when you are sitting on a plane to your favourite holiday destination, how on earth the aircraft you are on manages to stay in the sky? The weight of an aircraft is enormous. There is the combined weight of the aircraft itself, all the passengers and all the luggage and not forgetting the weight of the fuel which powers the plane. That’s a lot of weight! … So, how does all that weight stay flying in the air?

It was the American Wright Brothers who are credited with inventing the first airplane. They didn’t obtain any qualifications at school so there may be a lesson for us there somewhere! It’s only about 100 years since the first airplane flew and since then there has been a rapid advancement in technology, including the invention of the jet engine which resulted in the type of aircraft we see today, including the new Airbus A380 which can carry over 800 passengers!

Flying is possible due to the flow of air over an aircraft’s wings. Air below the wing flows slower than the air above the wing and this provides “lift”.

Take a look at the short video below, which explains how an airplane can fly. Next time you are sitting on an aircraft on your way to your well deserved holiday you will understand how all that weight manages to stay up there in the sky!

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