us review what we have learned and get some idea of how the physical
description has given us a greater ability to understand flight. First
what have we learned:
• The amount of air diverted by the wing is proportional to the speed of the wing and the air density.
• The vertical velocity of the diverted air is proportional to the speed of the wing and the angle of attack.
• The lift is proportional to the amount of air diverted times the vertical velocity of the air.
• The power needed for lift is proportional to the lift times the vertical velocity of the air.
Now let us look at some situations from the physical point of view and from the perspective of the popular explanation.
• The plane’s speed is reduced. The physical view says that the amount of air diverted is reduced so the angle of attack is increased to compensate. The power needed for lift is also increased. The popular explanation cannot address this.
• The load of the plane is increased. The physical view says that the amount of air diverted is the same but the angle of attack must be increased to give additional lift. The power needed for lift has also increased. Again, the popular explanation cannot address this.
• A plane flies upside down. The physical view has no problem with this. The plane adjusts the angle of attack of the inverted wing to give the desired lift. The popular explanation implies that inverted flight is impossible.
As one can see, the popular explanation, which fixates on the shape of the wing, may satisfy many but it does not give one the tools to really understand flight. The physical description of lift is easy to understand and much more powerful.
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