Skip to comments.Air Show Math
Posted on 09/14/2014 8:19:53 PM PDT by rey
I home school a young girl. In years past, we have gone to the local air show and done such things as measure the tops and bottom of wings and rotos and figure the ratio or difference between the area of the top of the wing versus the bottom and estimated which wings had more lift than others. We measure how much area the wheels occupied on the ground and consulted with the crew chief what the tire pressure was and calculated the weight of the plane.
In years past we were able to see F18s form a vapor cone around the plane and discussed how pressure can squeeze the moisture out of the air to give us this effect. There won't be any military jets this year, but there will be an Osprey, P38, Corsair from WWII, T38, the helicopter pilot from Red Bull who flips and rolls a helicopter.
Before going we review some physics books and discuss what properties of physics and laws of motion apply. We do a similar thing at the fair; she cannot go on any ride if she cannot name at least two laws of motion that apply. When we watch the planes or fair rides we point out what laws of motion we are witnessing.
My question is this; What other math problems could we review on the static displays or any other happening at the air show? She is 10 and is well into algebra. We have done a little trig when trying to figure target info for various firearms or catapults. WE have done very little calculus, but if someone can outline something well enough we can definitely figure it out.
We are open to any aspect of aeronautics, whether is is mathematics, chemistry, physics, scientific.
There are some very sharp people on this site and wish to thank everyone in advance for their help.
Bernoulli’s principle. An interesting subject regarding jet engines.
Please ping me to aviation and aerospace articles. Thank you.
How pitot-static air pressure can be mechanically measured. Then show her the pitot tubes and air data probes.
I can’t help, but wanted to give kudos to your teaching your kids, and making math interesting.
I wish my dad had done that.
I’m still ‘number phobic’ despite eventually getting through Calculus, and D.E., etc.
One more. How is fuel capacity measured. How do pico-farads determine the amount of fuel left?
“... measure the tops and bottom of wings and rotos and figure the ratio or difference between the area of the top of the wing versus the bottom and estimated which wings had more lift than others.”
Keep in mind that lift is about 25% Bernoulli Effect and about 75% displacement depending on the wing cross section.
“Keep in mind that lift is about 25% Bernoulli Effect and about 75% displacement depending on the wing cross section.”
Yes. I had to search for that one. The pat answer is pressure difference causes lift and the plane achieves loft. All the pilots at the air show say this, but I remembered that aeronautics was originally studied using water. I thought, if subs move about due to displacement there must be a similar effect on planes. After a lot of stumbling about due to a lack of proper terminology, I was able to find your statement about Bernoulli vs displacement.
We know what the speed of light is, but what is the speed of thought?
You could delve into gorebull warming science as well:
Chemtrail release thingamajiggy diameter
__________________________________ = ocean rise
Seatbelt extender length x altitude
An easy one.
Have her count seconds during fly-bys and use the known length of the runway to calculate speed.
“The pat answer is pressure difference causes lift and the plane achieves loft.”
That’s Bernoulli at work causing the low pressure on the top of the wing. If angle of incidence was zero Bernoulli would not be enough to get the aircraft off the ground.
By setting the angle of incidence between one to six degrees it creates enough deflection of the air against the bottom of the wing to pick up where Bernoulli leaves off.
Indeed. I once got into a discussion with someone who challenged by assertion that I could build a plane with NO airfoil at all, just a plank with an angle of attack of about 55 and it would fly.
He laughed at my ignorance of things aeronautical - until I took one of my RC models and fitted it out with a totally flat wing; a slab of balsa, it was, and flew it in front of him.
Indeed, most wing shaping is done in the pursuit of drag reduction and controllability.
He who laughs last laughs best.
That’s not 55, it’s 5%.
“Im still number phobic despite eventually getting through Calculus, and D.E., etc”
I understand what you are saying. I did not do well in school and struggled through college, but when I started teaching her, things became clearer, I was able to fill in the holes in my education and teach myself what I never fully understood. The books available now are great. Danica Mckellor’s books though having too much boyfriend stuff in them are a help. There are some great you tubes and the Kahn academy is fantastic. There are a ton of web sites available. We have good library book sales and the common core standards have caused a plethora of inexpensive text books to become available. It is interesting how may ways there are to explain the same subject. I have some where between 75-100 math books not to mention some lighter theory books like Jordan Ellenberg’s or Keith Devlin’s.
What ever comes of this, I will continue with my math. It is amazing what you can do if you simply do 15-30 minutes of calculations a day even if you ever so slowly increase the complexity. Furthermore, working with math causes one to view the world differently,more rationally. Giving your mind a mathematical work out daily will change you. Don’t fear it; own it.
“Indeed, most wing shaping is done in the pursuit of drag reduction and controllability.”
And stall characteristics. That would probably be under control-ability.
convert all the measurements from imperial to metric or vise versa.
If plane A leaves New York traveling non-stop to Los Angeles at 430 knots, and plane B takes off from NY traveling non-stop to LA two hours later traveling at 460 knots, how long will it take for plane B to catch up with plane A?
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