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What makes an aeroplane fly?
One thing that you really need to understand before you can build a toy plane that actually flies is what it is that makes planes fly in the first place. Luckily, with a little explanation, the basic scientific principles of plane flight aren’t too difficult to understand.
The key to flight, understandably, is the wings. Instead of flapping their wings like birds do, however, planes propel themselves forwards using an engine in much the same way a car does, and then rely on the shape of their wings to slowly lift them off the ground.
But why do a plane’s big, flat wings lift it off the ground? The answer is all to do with how the air travels over and under the wings. A plane’s wings are flatter on the bottom and more rounded on the top, which means that air takes longer to travel over the wings than under them. The higher air speed under the wings means that there is always more space for air to travel under than over – effectively, the air is being forced to go under the wings. When the plane is moving fast, enough air is being forced under the wings that the plane takes off.
Once the plane is in the air, it can either glide using its wings and a little forward power, turn up the forward power to ascend, or turn it off to descend. A plane can also steer left and right using a rudder on the air, much the same way as a boat uses one in water, and go up and down faster by tilting its nose. All of these choices are the ones you see represented on a typical toy plane remote control, and aside from the added computer-controlled navigation and radar systems to check the locations of other planes in a real plane, they are pretty much the same controls that you would find there.
About the Author: John Gibb is the owner of