The Dynamics of Flight
Before the Wright brothers’ first airplane flight in 1903, and even after the fact, the concept of flying would have baffled many who took the time to think about it. How could such a large object be lifted into the sky and travel without falling back down? The dynamics of an airplane are complex, with many different factors affecting the airplane’s design and thus its flight. When looking at the forces on an airplane during flight, there are three different ways to view them, each one more complex than the last. These three ways are steady-state, two dimensional, and three dimensional flight. The four main forces that affect airplanes are thrust and drag, which are horizontal forces, and lift and weight, which are vertical forces. However, there are numerous variables that affect these forces so that they are rarely the same between two flights. These variables include, but are not limited to, altitude, wind speed, velocity, temperature, pressure, weight of the aircraft, area of the wings, and ratio of atmospheric density. In my project I am creating a Python code that explores the dynamics of airplanes in all three forms of flight using Newton’s second law and the equations for the four main forces. For each equation I will allow the user of my code to input different variables to find the thrust, drag, lift, and weight. After finding these forces with the input variables, they will be able to calculate the total forces for each of the three types of flight using equations from Newton’s second law. The user can then graph the forces to see how they relate with different velocities.