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Weight and Balance: Lesson 2

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A test pilot stands on a weight scale



Grade Levels

Grades 9-12


Other Multimedia, Videos

This NASA video segment explores where the center of gravity is on an airplane, how its location is determined, and why center of gravity is important for maintaining balance. An instructor and an engineer at NASA’s National Test Pilot School teach that to control an aircraft, its center of gravity must be located where the wing lift is. Viewers also learn that computers in the aircraft redistribute the weight of fuel to maintain a safe zone for the center of gravity. Demonstrations show how to find the center of gravity of an irregularly shaped object and how the same scientific principles involved in balancing a seesaw apply to balancing an airplane. Viewers also learn that a moment is the product of force times the arm length.

Weight and Balance, Lesson 2
Duration: 14 minutes 10 seconds

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)
Lift and Rate of Change of Momentum, Lesson 3
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