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Principles of Aeronautics - Level 2

   In this module, we will study the basics of why an airplane flies and how it is navigated. Although balloons, dirigibles, and helicopters are also aerospace vehicles, we will confine ourselves to the modern, fixed-wing airplane with a piston or turbine engine. The airplane we know today is a machine which evolved from the box-kite structure built by the Wright brothers. Lying across the bottom wing of their aircraft, they used their bodies for balance as they glided like the birds. Later, their gliders had a wooden-frame fuselage, and they added an elevator in the front which they balanced with a rudder in the back. They then added an engine with two pusher propellers (props were behind the engine). The first truly successful controlled flight in a heavier-than-air flying machine was made with this aircraft. As airplanes became streamlined and engines became more powerful, the propellers were moved forward of the wing. The rudder and elevator became part of the tail. The fuselage held the pilot, and later it held passengers and cargo. This is the machine we will study.

Chapters in this Module:

Chapter 1 - Structure of an Airplane
Chapter 2 - Characteristics of the Flight Atmosphere
Chapter 3 - Principles of Flight
Chapter 4 - The Four Forces of Flight
Chapter 5 - Flight Controls
Chapter 6 - Aircraft Propulsion
Flying with the F-15E Strike Eagle (Used with permission of the 90th Fighter Squadron)

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Updated: March 12, 2004