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Lift and the Rate of Change of Momentum, Lesson 3
A pilot sits in the cockpit of an airplane

The information in this video was accurate as of the original publication date.

Audience: Educators and Students
Grades: 9-12

This NASA video segment explores how Newton's Laws of Motion apply to the lift of an airplane. An instructor at NASA's National Test Pilot School teaches that for an airplane to overcome the downward force of its weight, it must change the momentum of the air molecules colliding with the wings. This is accomplished by changing the air's vertical velocity through increased propeller speed, sharpened angles of attack, widened wings or curved wings. Onscreen formulas and calculations represent the forces mathematically. For example, in one part, the instructor derives a formula from Newton's second law to calculate the minimum flying speed of an aircraft. The instructor then flies the aircraft to test his calculations.

Lift and Rate of Change of Momentum, Lesson 3
Duration: 14 minutes 15 seconds
› QuickTime  [47MB]

This video clip is part of the Flight Testing Newton's Laws DVD that may be ordered from the Central Operation of Resources for Educators, or CORE  →.

More videos and video clips in this series:
Introduction to Newton's Three Laws, Lesson 1
     The Law of Inertia: Newton's First Law (video clip)
     Force Equals Mass Times Acceleration: Newton's Second Law (video clip)
     The Law of Action and Reaction: Newton's Third Law (video clip)
Weight and Balance, Lesson 2
Drag, Lesson 4
Thrust, Lesson 5
Take Off, Lesson 6
Climb and Descent, Lesson 7
Cruise, Lesson 8
The Landing, Lesson 9
     The Landing: Approach (video clip)
     The Landing: Flare (video clip)
     The Landing: Rollout (video clip)
     The Landing: Summary (video clip)

Flight Testing Newton's Laws Main Page