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What is Thrust?

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THRUST is one of the four forces acting on an aircraft. Thrust (measured in pounds or newtons) provides the velocity required for an aircraft's wings to produce LIFT. Thrust is the force necessary to move the aircraft forward and lift is the force acting in the upward direction required to keep the aircraft aloft. Opposing thrust is DRAG or the force produced by air resistance. The last force is the WEIGHT of the airplane, the downward acting force, and is produced by gravity.

You might have read where the F-15 can accelerate while flying straight up. A F-15E can accomplish this when the weight of the F-15E is less than the 58,200 pounds of thrust produced by the engines (commonly referred to as a thrust-to-weight ratio of greater than 1.0).

Thrust is a measurement of force. Force is addressed by Newton's second law of motion and is represented by the formula

Force = Mass x Acceleration


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Updated: March 12, 2004