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FAQnewred.gif (906 bytes)           

How lift is produced

Lift is a partial vacuum created above the surface of an airplane's wing causing the wing to be "lifted" upward. The special shape of the airplane wing (air foil) is designed so that air flowing over it will have to travel a greater distance - faster - resulting in a low pressure area ( see illustration) thus lifting the wing upward. Lift is that force which opposes gravity.
<img src="images/lift-v.gif" align="bottom" width="352" height="200">

Many believe that this explanation is incorrect because flat wings (such as seen on balsa wood airplanes, paper planes and others) also have managed to create lift.   Please read How planes fly:  the physical description of flight as well to get a fuller understanding of the creation of lift.  It is at a more advanced level, though.


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Updated: March 12, 2004