What are the 7 steps of flight?

  • Jul 10, 2024
What are the 7 steps of flight?

The Magic of Flight: The seven steps that lead to the ultimate goal of getting airborne.

Never did it feel more wonderful to be alive than when you were flying, the cold wind beneath your wings as you glide through the vast skies. However, the mechanics that enable a several-ton aircraft to stay in the air may be considered sheer wizardry by laymen like me. Which natural laws can be said to make a vehicle as large as a commercial airliner airborne yet have no apparent wings?

The miracle called powered flight can be divided into 7 basic principles that explain how wings provide lift to counteract gravity and air drag. Knowledge of these concepts goes a long way in making what many consider miraculous, simply possible.

Step 1: Airflow and Lift Section 1 of the project discussed how the Wright brothers managed to achieve airflow and lift to make a successful flight.

This is because, as the aircraft advances, airflow goes over and under the wings. This air gets divided and slowed down by the lower pressure caused by the wing's curved top surface. While the underside has a flat base with a wider surface area, airflow is sluggish hence generating more pressure. This pressure difference produces a force known as lift that works in the opposite direction of a body's gravitational force.

Step 2: Angle of Attack is the second step in phase one and involves changing the direction of the attack to the target as it comes closer.

Of the two forces, the air pressure acting upright on the wing, the angle at which the wing meets the oncoming air, called the angle of attack, has a significant influence. With the increase of the angle of attack, the lift increases until the wing stalls and the airflow starts to separate from it. They keep the best attitude that will give sufficient lift to sustain the aircraft without stalling.

Step 3: Thrust

In the propeller plane's case, it is the propellers that are used to pull the airplane forward. This is done by large jet engines thrust streams which force the plane through the air. It gives the forward impetus to make the air flow over and under the wings with sufficient speeds to support the lift. It requires the engines to deliver enough force to lift the weight of the airplane and the force of air acting against it.

Step 4: Drag

Since wings provide lift which is a necessity, they are also responsible for drag – air-resistance acting against the motion of the aircraft. Optimization reduces drag to a minimum, but more thrust is required to counteract the remaining disruptive forces.

Step 5: Rotating Wings

Fixed wings only provide the ability to lift off against gravity; the rotating wings allow for maneuvering in other plains. The pilot uses wing flaps referred to as ailerons situated at the back portion of the main wings to enable the plane to roll to the left or right. Climbing or descending is operated through an elevator found on the tail airfoil. This one provides the yawing motions by turning the aircraft's nose to the left or right via the rudder.

Step 6: Glide Slope

The propellers or jets stop working at some points such as when the plane is on the ground for instance after landing and so at that speed, the plane cannot produce enough lift to enable it to fly. This is because with the engines running, one can simply glide down properly to the runway while the wings are still holding the airplane slightly off the ground, and the remaining descent is facilitated by the lift supplied by the wings and the drag that is experienced by the airplane.

Step 7: Touchdown

During the final approach, pilots align the wings, and following a few seconds or meters before touching the runway, the pilots raise the nose to achieve maximum vertical descent speed and then gently apply back pressure to flare the craft. Spoilers DEPLOY ON THE WING TOPS, suddenly eradicating any further lift needed for the wheels to firmly touch the ground. Reverse thrusters BRAKE THE PLANE, at the same time, it is creating more drag until the airplane is at a speed suitable for taxiing off the active runway.

From this, one can easily get the impression that the processes behind aviation are shrouded in mystery while acknowledging that there is a certain level of complexity to the mechanical marvel. This means that because of the various forces at play in the dance between wings and airflow, one feels the glorious sensation of defying gravity. The Wright Brothers demonstrated that, a little over 117 years ago, when perfecting the formula of balance and power, that dream of flying into the heavens is indeed achievable.

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