A plane flies through the air by generating forces that act against gravity and drag.

Lift is the force created by the wings and acts against gravity. Lift increases as the speed of the plane increases. It also increases as the angle of attack increases. View the video on the right (from How An Airplane Flies by Shell 1975). Thrust is generated by the propeller and acts against the force of drag.



The angle of attack is the angle at which the wings move into the oncoming air. There is a limit to how high the angle of attack can be. If it increases too much the wing is unable to generate lift and the plane stalls.


All planes create lift by using curved surfaces on the top of their wings and all planes need to push air back in order to generate thrust.
Propeller planes simply push the air in which they travel backwards while jet planes push hot gases, created by burning fuel, out of their engines.

The questions below can best be answered when the student has read the text above and visited all the links prescribed.

The wings generate

Thrust is the force that
The propeller generates
The force that resists a plane moving through the air is called
The force that supports the weight of an aeroplane is
The force that opposes lift is
The movement of an angled, precisely shaped wing through the air creates, around its surface
The angle of attack is
The critical angle is the angle at which
A wing that has no curved surface will
What can increase the force of lift?
All planes generate thrust by