Flight of Heavy Airplanes
Location: New Zealand
How does a plane fly when it is so heavy?
It is the shape of the wings.
People had been trying to fly for the longest time. As often is the case,
trial and error led to the shape. When the plane goes fast enough the wind
going around the wing produces lift. The combination of speed and the lift
enables the plane to overcome its weight and fly.
If you notice birds, when they want to land, the change in their wings brings
their nose up and enables a landing, again in combination with lower speed.
The flaps on the back of plane wings, do the same thing.
A little story, Gene Sarazen a professional golfer is credited with inventing
the sand wedge. Sand bunkers are a hazard on the golf course, because it is
difficult to hit the ball when it partially embeds in the sand. The lie is
often referred to as a "fried egg", really a "sunny side up" the ball being
the yolk. Mr. Sarazen was looking out of the plane window and doing the same
thinking about, "How does this fly?" and he made the thought leap that shape
of the wing, if applied to a golf club, wouldn't dig into the sand, but skim
through. So, he put extra solder on his club and invented the sand wedge.
In the tournaments, he put a sock over it so his opponents would not see his
invention. But , his success led to his idea being universal. Changed the
game, reducing the problem of sand traps.
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Update: June 2012