Becoming a Private Pilot/Background

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The four forces of flight.

Aerodynamics[edit | edit source]

Aerodynamics is a branch of dynamics concerned with studying the motion of air, particularly when it interacts with a moving object. To be a competent pilot, you will need to know and understand aerodynamics intuitively, and also scientifically. See lift.

Why an airplane flies[edit | edit source]

Lift[edit | edit source]

Lift is the upward force exerted by the wings pushing down the air around them. This counteracts weight.

Drag[edit | edit source]

Drag is the backward force of the friction produced from the airplane moving through the air.

This slows the plane down.

Thrust[edit | edit source]

Thrust is the pull that the propeller produces, pulling the airplane through the air.

This counteracts drag.

Weight[edit | edit source]

Weight is the downward force on the aircraft produced by the Earth's gravitational pull.

Maneuvering[edit | edit source]

Axes of Flight[edit | edit source]

An airplane moves in three dimensions, or along three axes. When driving a car or boat, it which moves in two dimensions. Adding a third dimension makes the control much more complex. A banking, climbing turn requires skill and concentration.

Pitch[edit | edit source]

Pitch is the change of attitude of flight about the transverse axis of the aircraft. It simple words it is nose down or nose up of the aircraft. The airplane climbs or descends by changing the pitch. Pulling back the yoke or stick results in a change in the elevator causing a downward force on it and resulting in an equal upward change in attitude of the nose about the vertical plane.

Roll[edit | edit source]

Roll is the longitudinal axis causing one wing tip to go up while the other goes down. The airplane turns about this axis from the center of the nose through the center of the tail. During a roll the airplane turn like a kabob on a rotisserie. Turning the yoke or moving the stick left or right causes one aeleron to rotate up while the other simultaneously rotates down.

Yaw[edit | edit source]

Yaw is the horizontal axis on which the airplane turns left and right. A left or right turn is a rotation of the airplane about an imaginary line through the center of the airplane from top to bottom. The rudder pedals are moved with the feet left and right to move the rudder which turns the airplane about the horizontal plane.