Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Just words alone won’t always work. Sometimes you need simple graphics too.

Back in high school physics class I learned about vectors (which have both a magnitude and a direction) for expressing quantities like velocity and force. You cannot discuss them just using words. If you try to, the results are incomplete and misleading. For example, back on June 3rd Seth Godin blogged about an analogy between flight and business in a brief post titled Add engines until airborne:

“That's certainly one way to get through a thorny problem.

The most direct way to get a jet to fly is to add bigger engines. And the easiest way to gain attention is to run more ads, or yell more loudly.

Horsepower is an expensive but often effective solution.

The challenge is that power is expensive. And that power is inelegant. And that power often leaves behind a trail of destruction.

When in doubt, try wings.

Wings use finesse more than sheer force. Wings work with the surrounding environment, not against it. Wings are elegant, not brutal.”

As shown above, there are both horizontal and vertical forces acting on an airplane.  The engine provides thrust which is opposed by drag. Wings provide lift, which is opposed by weight.

How do you add more wing for takeoff? Partly deploy the Fowler flaps from the trailing edge of the wings. If you fully deploy them, you will add a lot more lift but also a lot more  drag, which is what you want for landing. See the article on How Airplanes Work at HowStuffWorks.

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