Find answers, ask questions, and connect with our
community around the world.

Activity Discussion Science & Technology How Do Airplanes Stay in the Air? Reply To: How Do Airplanes Stay in the Air?


    May 9, 2021 at 12:35 am
    Not Helpful

    It is often wondered how airplanes stay in the air. Complicated it might sound to you. However, there are certain laws of physics that explain the particular perfectly.

    The four main forces that on the airplane to keep it on air are:


    Let’s break it down and understand each of these individually now.

    1) GRAVITY

    Gravity is the force by which everything including materials, objects planets, and another celestial body is pulled towards its center.

    It is an absolute force that is applied to a body at any point of the earth(except vacuum).

    Hence, the airplanes experience it too. The pulling force towards the center is applied to every airplane flying. It is nothing but the weight of the plane itself


    Now it is impossible for the airplane or any other object to remain suspended in the air when a force like gravity is pulling itself down.

    To counterbalance the entire thing. The lift force acts. It directly opposes the force of gravity i.e. the weight of the plane and keeps it suspended in the air.

    Now, the lift is not a natural force, hence it is put in action mechanically.

    The wings of the airplane are shaped like that of the bird’s. The shape of the wings is an essential part of it. It is designed particularly such the lower part is flat and the top part is curved. The shape is such that the air which is on top of the wings is pushed faster and the layer beneath. Thus fast-moving air decreases the pressure around automatically. This directly creates a major pressure difference on the wings, keeping them floated.

    3) THRUST

    To define it simply, thrust is the force applied when we push something or someone in a certain forward direction.

    So, the idea is simple here too. The thrust pushes the plane forward. There is no need to wonder how it happens. So let’s understand that quickly. The thrust is created by the jet engines placed in the airplane.

    How it does that?

    Firstly, it takes in all the air, squeezing it perfectly. With that, it burns the fuel and on the side, it is exhausted. Thus phenomenon is directly involved in moving the plane forward, hence creating the necessary thrust.

    4) DRAG

    This basically holds the plane or restricts the forward movement.

    This is not generated from one part or other. It is generated from each and every part of the plane. Hence the motion of the plane is maintained when it balances the thrust.

    All of these together follow Newton’s third law of motion, where for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

    Hence, by the laws of physics and the phenomenon of nature, the airplane manages to stay in the air.

For Worksheets & PrintablesJoin Now