The Mechanics of Flight


Engineering Studies – H3  Aeronautical Engineering – Mechanical Analysis

This topic uses examples in aeronautical situations to analyse force systems. The key concept is the relationship between lift, weight, thrust, and drag on an aircraft.

Key Concepts

  • The forces of flight including:
    • Lift
    • Weight
    • Thrust
    • Drag
  • Lift to weight ratio
  • The ‘angle of attack’.

Discussion Questions

  1. How is a lift force generally developed on an airplane?
  2. Discuss why lift force is opposing weight force.
  3. Discuss why the thrust force opposes the drag force.
  4. Describe why would the lift to weight ratio be important in aeronautics?
  5. Explain why would aircraft engineers design to minimise drag and increase thrust?
  6. Define the term ‘the angle of attack’ in aircraft flight.
  7. Define the term ‘gliding’.


723 V1 The forces of flight - Mr David Jackson.
723 V2 Flight sample calculations - Mr David Jackson
723 V3 Gliding forces - calculation example - Mr David Jackson
Detailed flying information.
Lift and Wings - Concepts explained.