Even before the Wright brothers guided their fixed-wing aircraft over North Carolina dunes, daredevils and engineers worked to decode the secrets of sustained heavier-than-air human flight. Today, all of that aerodynamic knowledge makes it possible to keep planes flying high above the earth. Want to become an aviator, too? Then you have to know a little about the physics of flight. Start here.
Question 1 of 20
Which of the following is NOT a force acting on airplanes?
Question 2 of 20
What part of an airplane is responsible for creating thrust?
Question 3 of 20
Which force acts in the opposite direction of thrust?
Question 4 of 20
What part of an airplane is responsible for creating lift?
Question 5 of 20
What's the scientific name for a wing?
Question 6 of 20
Which well-known scientific principle describing the pressure of moving fluids is often invoked when discussing how an airplane generates lift?
Question 7 of 20
What controversial book, first published in 2001, rejects the conventional wisdom about airplane wings and lift?
Question 8 of 20
A different, more modern view of airplane flight relies on another famous scientific principle. Which one?
Question 9 of 20
When air flows over an airplane wing, it sticks to the surface. What’s the name of this process?
Question 10 of 20
What term describes the degree to which an airfoil is curved?
Question 11 of 20
What are the two main types of drag?
Question 12 of 20
This term sounds threatening, but it merely describes the position of the wing relative to airflow.
Question 13 of 20
What's the relationship between the angle of attack and lift?
Question 14 of 20
What happens when a plane reaches the critical angle of attack?
Question 15 of 20
What part of an airplane controls pitching (tilting the nose up or down)?
Question 16 of 20
What part of an airplane controls rolling?
Question 17 of 20
What part of an airplane controls yawing (turning the nose left or right)?
Question 18 of 20
Turning an airplane smoothly requires a pilot to operate two controls simultaneously. Which ones?
Question 19 of 20
Supersonic flight changes aerodynamics drastically. Which two forces are affected most?
Question 20 of 20