What is an Airfoil in Aviation?

What is an Airfoil in Aviation?

Photo Credit: pixabay.com You may or may not have heard what is an airfoil on an airplane. What is an airfoil and how does it work? An airfoil is the shape of the aircraft’s wing, blade (of a propeller, rotor, or turbine). It is the term used to describe the cross-sectional shape of an object that, when moved through a fluid such as air, creates an aerodynamic force. Airfoils are employed on aircraft as wings to produce lift or as propeller blades to produce thrust. Both these forces are produce perpendicular to the air flow. Drag is a consequence of the production of lift/thrust and acts parallel to the airflow. Other airfoil surfaces include tailplanes, fins, winglets, and helicopter rotor blades. Control surfaces are shaped to contribute to the overall aerofoil section of the wing or empennage The basic principle behind an aerofoil is described by Bernoulli’s theorem. Basically, this states that total pressure is equal to static pressure (due to the weight of air above) plus dynamic pressure (due to the motion of air). Air that travels over the top surface of the aerofoil has to travel faster and thus gains dynamic pressure. The subsequent loss of static pressure creates a pressure difference between the upper and lower surfaces that is called the lift and opposes the weight of an aircraft (or thrust that opposes drag). As the angle of attack (the angle between the chord line and relative air flow) is increased, more lift is created. Once the critical angle of attack is reached (generally around 14 degrees) the aerofoil will stall. According to Dynamic Flight (2002), several terms are used to describe what...
Are Solar Planes the Future of Flight?

Are Solar Planes the Future of Flight?

Photo Credit: pixabay.com Between years 2015 and 2016, Solar Impulse 2, the first flying solar aircraft completed a circumnavigation of the Earth. This may be quite an achievement in aviation since aircrafts are mostly being propelled by fuel-powered engines. This may also be an environmental achievement, as it only uses solar power to make airplanes fly, as opposed to fuel which would bring about a heavy amount of carbon emissions in the atmosphere. Now that Solar Impulse 2 has flown and completed a turn around the Earth, are solar planes the future of flight? How does a solar-powered airplane work anyway? Here’s a preview of how it works, from revolvy.com: a Solar cell converts sunlight into electricity, either for direct power or temporary storage. The power output of solar cells is small, even when many are connected together, which limits their use and is also expensive. However, their use of freely available sunlight makes them attractive for high-altitude, long-endurance applications. For endurance flights, keeping the craft in the air all night typically requires a backup storage system, which supplies power during the hours of darkness and recharges during the day. Now back to the journey of the first flying solar aircraft. Solar Impulse 2’s journey to circumnavigate the Earth took more than a year, 505 days to be exact, to fly 26,000 miles (42,000 km) at an average speed of about 45 mph (70 kph). Despite its relatively slow speed and relatively low altitude, Swiss pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg successfully landed the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft in Abu Dhabi on July 26, 2016, after flying around the world using...
Why the Plane was Invented and Some Historical Tidbits

Why the Plane was Invented and Some Historical Tidbits

Photo Credit: pixabay.com You may wonder why the plane was invented? Due to man’s desire to discover new methods of transportation and the desire to travel long distances without the complications of terrain as well as to travel in the shortest time possible, the plane was then created. What was the first flight in history? While many believe that the airplane was invented by the Wright brothers in Kitty Hawk, N.C., it was said that the first man to fly was New Zealander Richard Pearse in 1902, eight months before the Wright brothers first flew. Pearse, according to witnesses, flew a length of 50 to 400 yards in a heavier-than-air machine. Pearse’s aircraft was the first to use proper ailerons, which allowed the wings to warp and turn the aircraft. Though many credit the invention of airplanes to the Wright brothers, Richard Pearse never reported his inventions because he didn’t know there was any interest in flying. However, the Wright brothers were the first flyers to be officially recorded and the first to have also patented their invention. Though the Wright brothers tested many gliders in the early 1900s, none of them counted as an actual aircraft, and the brothers didn’t achieve flight until late 1903 with their first plane, the Flyer I. The craft weighed over 600 pounds, and Orville Wright was the first pilot, which was decided through a toss coin. The craft remained airborne for 12 seconds and traveled a little over 120 feet. To zoom in on the aviation history of the Philippines, here is a timeline of the Philippine Airline Industry: The government created an...
What Makes Airplanes Fly

What Makes Airplanes Fly

Photo Credit: pixabay.com Ever wondered what makes airplanes fly or what makes a plane stay in the air or how airplanes work? The airplane, which is one of the greatest inventions in transportation, heavily relies on the laws of physics for it to actually work and take you to your desired destination in a lesser amount of time than traveling on land or on the sea. You may have observed several planes taking off or landing, and the first thing that you’ll have noticed is the engine noise.  You might think that engines responsible for making planes fly, but you’re not entirely correct—to point an example, paper planes and birds can fly without engines, right?. However, a plane’s engine has an important role where it is designed to move it forward at a high speed. Its engine is only one of the things that makes it fly but is not totally responsible for keeping it up in the air. So really, what makes airplanes fly? There are four forces that keep an airplane in the sky—thrust, lift, drag and weight. Thrust is the force that moves the airplane forward, care of the plane’s engine. This high speed from the thrust of the plane makes rapid air flow over the wings, which throw the air down toward the ground, generating an upward force called lift that overcomes the plane’s weight and holds it in the sky. Simply put, the lift pushes the airplane up. Wings make lift by changing the direction and pressure of the air that crashes into them as the engines shoot them through the sky. Remember, it’s the engines that move a plane forward, but...
Introducing the Four Forces of Flight

Introducing the Four Forces of Flight

Photo Credit: pixabay.com Ever wonder what keeps the plane up in the sky? The four forces of flight are thrust, lift, drag and weight. So, what are the four forces of flight and what do they do? Let us enumerate each of this for better understanding. The first force, thrust, is the force that moves the airplane forward, of which the plane’s engine is responsible. The high speed from the airplane’s thrust makes rapid air flow over the wings, which throw the air down toward the ground. From this, an upward force is generated, Called lift which is another force of flight. Lift overcomes the plane’s weight and holds it in the sky. Simply put, the lift pushes the airplane up; wings make lift by changing the direction and pressure of the air that crashes into them as the engines shoot them through the sky. The lift comes when the air below the airplane wing is pushing up harder than the air above it is pushing down; it is this difference in pressure that enables the plane to fly. Pressure can be reduced on a wing’s surface by making the air move over it more quickly. For additional information, the wings of a plane are shaped like a curve so that the air moves more quickly over the top of the wing, resulting in an upward push on the wing. Remember, it’s the engines that move a plane forward (i.e., thrust), but it’s the wings move it upward (i.e., lift). Another force, called drag, slows the airplane. For a relatable picture, drag is what you feel when you walk against a...