Text Size

Thrust, Lesson 5
A man stands in front of a large airplane engine

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 second law applies to the thrust force on an airplane. Viewers watch an instructor at NASA's National Test Pilot School and learn that an airplane's engines work to change the horizontal momentum of the air surrounding the airplane. Viewers also learn that this change in momentum is accomplished through increased propeller speed, increased propeller diameter or increased air pressure in the jet engines. Onscreen formulas and calculations represent the forces mathematically. For example, in one part, the instructor uses Newton's second law to derive an equation to find the minimum rpm's needed to provide enough thrust to an airplane.

Thrust, Lesson 5
Duration: 10 minutes 40 seconds
› View QuickTime [35MB]

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
Lift and Rate of Change of Momentum, Lesson 3
Drag, Lesson 4
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