JOAN CARTAN-HANSEN: Birds can fly because their bones are mostly hollow air-filled tubes and they have very strong muscles. Their bodies are designed to fly – especially their wings – so when humans first tried to fly they copied the birds. It didn’t work very well
Then on December 17, 1903 two brothers – Orville and Wilbur Wright tried something different. They were the first ones to actually fly using a powered aircraft. It only flew for 12 seconds but it opened the way to air travel for all of us.
PILOT: Good morning. William, you ready to go fly?
WILLIAM: Yeah. One question – how does an airplane fly?
PILOT – Birds and airplanes have to overcome 4 forces of nature in order to fly: weight caused by gravity is overcome by lift of the wing going through the air through the Bernoulli Effect.
Drag caused by air resistance is overcome by the engine and propeller thrusting the airplane through the air.
WILLIAM – what’s the Bernoulli Effect?
PILOT: Let’s take off and I’ll show you. As the plane takes off the wing splits the air into two streams. The air traveling over the top of the wing flows more quickly than the air under the bottom of the wing. This causes a difference in air pressure between the top and the bottom. Because the pressure is greater below the wing than above, the wing rises. That’s the Bernoulli Effect.
WILLIAM –So how do you fly a plane?
PILOT: An airplane flies in 3 dimensions – roll, pitch and yaw. To roll the airplane you move the yoke to the right or to roll left, to the left. To pitch the airplane you pull the airplane back to go up and push the yoke forward to go down. The yaw of the aircraft, we use the rudder pedals pushing the left pedal to yaw left, pushing the right pedal to yaw right.
Also, the rudder pedals control the brakes and the steering of the aircraft on the ground.
[Pilot - let the flaps down]
[Pilot - want to try it?]
[William - okay, sure]
[Pilot - go ahead. Go ahead, make it do something]
William – wheeeeee