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Welcome to Engineering Studies ! Flight Aeronautics 101 is ready for boarding. Please fasten your seat belts and click to begin… The content of this resource is based on: Marshall, Ray, and John Bradley. The plane: Watch it work by operating the moving diagrams! Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Viking Kestral, 1985.
Cleared for take off Cleared for take off The cockpit The cockpit Instrument Panel Instruments Flight Flight Flight forces Flight controls Flight controls Elevators Rudder Ailerons Flaps and Spoilers Take off Take off Landing Landing The Undercarriage The Undercarriage Propulsion systems Propulsion systems Propellers & Supersonic Jet Engines How airports work How airports work Ground Services Pilot Checklist Click a topic to find out more…
Cleared for Take off… Your aircraft turns onto the runway and stops. The airport control tower gives you, the Captain, permission to take off. The engines roar. The brakes are released and the plane accelerates rapidly. Faster and faster it goes, until the nose comes up and the ground falls away below. We are airborne, but how? Checklist Checklist Cockpit Cockpit Glossary Glossary The hour or two before takeoff of a large passenger jet is a hectic time. The Captain agrees the route. The co-pilot calculates the weight of passengers and cargo and works out how much fuel will be needed. The flight engineer walks all around the plane looking for any damage. Then all together they go through an exhaustive check of the systems and equipment on the flight deck. In the cockpit the Captain sits on the left, the co-pilot sits to the right, and sitting slightly behind the co-pilot is the flight engineer. There is a bewildering display of dials, switches, and lights. Each pilot has a set of the most important instruments so that either one can fly the plane if necessary. A big panel of instruments provides the flight engineer with information on the fuel, electrical, hydraulic, and pressure systems of the aircraft. Not all of the dials have to be watched at the same time.! Flashing lights and different sounding buzzers give warning of any faults or problems. An automatic pilot system will control the aircraft for much of the flight and gives the more time for navigation. On the latest jets monitor screens will select and present information, and computerised electronic controls replace many of the manual systems. Click here to take your seat in the cockpit…
Welcome aboard, click on the control panel to find out more about the flight controls.
Flight Instrument Panel The most important instruments are numbers 1-6 on the diagram. Click here to find out how these work.Click here to find out how these work. A selection of other instruments are identified below: 7 Radio magnetic compass 8 Rudder pedals & wheel brakes 9 Control columns 10 Automatic pilot control panel 11 Engine dials 12 Undercarriage control handle 13 Undercarriage down/locked 14 Engine throttles 15 Warning panel lights 16 Engine start levers 17 Inboard/outboard flap position indicators 18 Systems information monitor 19 Weather radar 20 Captain's seat (left), co-pilot's seat (right) Checklist Checklist Cockpit Cockpit Instruments Instruments Glossary Glossary
Flight Instruments 1 Airspeed indicator This dial gives the plane's speed through the air in knots. It is connected to a tube that projects from the nose or wing of the plane. Find out how the ASI works… 2 Altimeter This is actually a barometer, which measures atmospheric pressure. It is set at sea-level pressure on takeoff. Changes in the atmosphere, as the plane climbs or descends, are indicated as altitude, or height, above sea-level. Find out how an altimeter works… 3 Horizontal situation indicator The symbol of a plane is placed in a revolving compass card. It shows the plane's position as well as its relation to radio beams and beacons. 4 Attitude director The symbol of a plane is fixed in front of a moving artificial horizon. The symbol changes its position (climbs, descends, banks) as the real plane does. 5 Flight director Some attitude directors incorporate a flight director that tells the pilot how to manoeuvre the plane. A vertical pointer indicates the necessary degree of bank, or tilt, and a horizontal pointer gives the correct altitude required. 6 Verticals indicator The plane can be moving forward and climbing or descending at the same time. This instrument shows the rate of ascent. Checklist Checklist Cockpit Cockpit Instrument Panel Instrument Panel Altimeter Air Speed Glossary Glossary
Airspeed Indicator The Airspeed Indicator (ASI), as it is usually called, does as the name implies – measures the speed through the air but not over the ground. Oncoming air in flight enters a forward-facing aperture on the aircraft known as a pitot tube. It is carried through a line to the capsule in the instrument which can expand or contract. The pressure this air exerts on the capsule is a combination of static pressure (already there) and the additional pressure attributed to the moving air, known as dynamic pressure There is a need to ensure that the capsule, and thereby the reading, is only influenced by the dynamic pressure – the moving air. To achieve this, a static pressure line is also introduced into this instrument which exerts itself on the outside of the capsule. This nullifies the static pressure part of the total pressure. The net effect is that only the required dynamic pressure is linked to the dial where it is registered in terms of kilometers per hour. Checklist Checklist Instrument s Instrument s Glossary Glossary
Pressure altimeters resemble aneroid barometers. They determine how high an aircraft is above sea level by measuring the pressure of the earth’s atmosphere. The pressure of the earth’s atmosphere decreases as the altitude increases. The upper atmosphere has less pressure than the air near the earth, simply because there is less air pressing down from above. When you travel up a tall building in a fast lift, you will feel the air pressure changing. The pressure of the air inside the lift decreases, but the pressure inside your ears remains the same. This difference in pressure causes your eardrums to bulge outward slightly until some air finally forces its way out. You will feel your ears ‘pop’. Altimeter The altimeter is the instrument that indicates the height of the aircraft above a pre-selected surface level. The atmospheric pressure, known as the static pressure, is fed into the instrument from an aperture set into the fuselage side so that it is at right angles to any airflow. Checklist Checklist Instrument s Instrument s Glossary Glossary
Flight Because planes are heavier than air, they have to rely on their engines to give them power and on their wings to provide lift, an upward force that overcomes the plane's weight. Without them both, planes would not be able to stay in the air. Four forces affect the flying of a plane: lift, weight, thrust, and drag. Flight depends upon these forces being balanced. If lift is greater than weight, the plane climbs higher and higher. If thrust is greater than drag, the plane's forward speed will continue to increase. Lift Wings have a special shape called an aerofoil. This shape gives strength, a smooth airflow, and better lift. The top half of the wing is curved more than its underside, and thus air flowing over it moves faster than the air beneath. As a result, the air exerts less pressure on the wing's upper surface, and the higher pressure below produces an upward lift. The amount of lift is determined by the angle of attack, the angle at which the front (leading) edge of the wing is inclined to the air. Click on aerofoil to see the airflow Checklist Checklist Flight forces Flight forces Glossary Glossary
Flight Forces Weight The takeoff weight of the plane varies by type. It is the plane itself, the passengers and cargo, and the fuel. New materials (plastics and composite metals) save weight and fuel. Planes taking off from airports with high, thin altitudes and hot air temperatures must carry less weight. Drag Planes are smooth-surfaced and are shaped to reduce drag (the resistance of the air to the plane flying through it). The shape of both the wings and the body or fuselage affects drag, and the most efficient planes are those with the best ratio of lift to drag. Aeronautical engineers use powerful computers to find the best shapes. Reduced drag means that less fuel is required. Thrust The plane is moved forward through the air by thrust. In a jet plane, air escaping from the exhausts propels it forward. A bigger or heavier plane requires more powerful engines. So does a plane with poor drag or lift. To revise LIFT forces click here… Checklist Checklist Flight Flight Glossary Glossary
Control of the Plane A plane with only fuselage, wings and engines would be very unstable. A tailplane, which is a small “wing” and vertical tail fin provide stability. Adjustable surfaces on both wings and tail control; the direction of flight. Click on a blue control surface to find out how they work… Elevator Aileron Rudder Checklist Checklist Elevators Rudder Ailerons Flaps & spoilers Flaps & spoilers Glossary Glossary
Pitching If the nose of the plane is displaced upward by air currents the tail will move down. The pilot! makes a correction by pushing the control column forward. The elevators are moved downward, increasing the upward force on the tail. This lowers the nose and returns the plane to stable, level flight, preventing the to-and-fro rocking called "pitch." If the e1evators remain lowered, the plane will descend. Click on the arrow to see the effect of the ELEVATORS Click on the arrow to see the plane pitching. Checklist Checklist Controls Controls Glossary Glossary
Yawing If the plane is yawing, the nose goes one way first, then the other way. The vertical tail fin helps prevent this and keeps the plane flying straight. A moveable rudder on the tail gives directional control. Turning the rudder to the left increases the force on that side and pushes the plane's nose left. Click on the arrow to see the effect of the RUDDER. Click on the arrow to see the plane yawing. Checklist Checklist Controls Controls Glossary Glossary
Rolling The plane will roll if the wing tips are displaced up or down. It will also slide sideways toward the lower wing unless corrected by the rudder. \Wings are designed to slope upward from the body of the plane to improve stability. but the ailerons at the ends of the wings on their rear trailing edge give pilots control. To bank and turn the plane to the left, the left aileron is raised. The right aileron is lowered, increasing the lift on the right wing. Then the left wing tilts downward and the plane turns. Click on the arrow to see the effect of the AILERONS. Click on the arrow to see the plane rolling Checklist Checklist Controls Controls Glossary Glossary
Checklist Checklist Landing Landing Glossary Glossary Takeoff Once the plane is loaded and the pre-flight checks completed, the engines are started. The plane is pushed away from its parking point by a ground vehicle. Then it taxis to the runway (1) under its own power. Once cleared for takeoff by the Control Tower, it turns into the wind (2) which assists in providing lift for takeoff, and, with the throttles opened, speeds down the runway (3). "Vee-one," calls out the co-pilot. Velocity-one is "stop" /"go" speed and the point at which the plane can either stop safely on the runway or go ahead with the takeoff. The captain calls out, "Rotate." Rotate speed is the takeoff speed when the Captain pulls back the control column, to raise the nose (4). As the plane's angle to the ground increases, so does its lift, which is more powerful than the plane's weight. The plane leaves the runway (5). "Vee-two," calls out the co-pilot, velocity-two is the minimum speed needed for a safe climb. At the top of this steep first ascent the plane is levelled out in a shallower climb, and the engines are cut back to reduce noise on the ground below (6). Click the plane to takeoff…
Checklist Checklist Takeoff Takeoff Glossary Glossary Landing On receiving clearance to land, the plane flies to a point in line with the runway some kilometers from the airport. The instrument Landing System (ILS) transmits two radio waves. One gives left/right directional guidance, so that even in a crosswind the correct approach line can be followed (1). The other indicates the guideslope and prevents the plane going above or below a glide path (2) that brings it to the runway. As it crosses the runway threshold (3), the throttles are closed and forward speed is reduced. Lift is maintained by lifting the nose, thereby keeping lift equal to the weight of the plane and assisted by the use of flaps. Speed continues to fall as the plane is lined up for landing (4), until the plane touches down, transferring its weight from air to the ground (5). The nose wheel is eased down (6), and a combination of reverse engine thrust and braking brings the plane to a halt. Click to land…
Flaps and Spoilers The elevators, rudder, and ailerons give the pilot control over the plane's direction. Flaps and spoilers are designed to help with lift on takeoff and landing. The flaps (3, 4, 7, & 8) are the movable extension of the wing; they increase the wing area to provide extra lift when it is needed. Spoilers (5 & 6) mounted on top of the wing assist the ailerons. When a spoiler is raised, its wing dips. When both are raised, the increased drag means that the plane descends. In normal flight the flaps are retracted into the wing and the spoilers are kept lowered. Click on the flaps (7) to watch them extend: 7 Checklist Checklist Controls Controls Glossary Glossary
The Undercarriage Large passenger planes, which can weigh more than 30,000 kilos or 700,000 pounds, require strong wheels when taking off, landing, or even moving around on the ground! The Boeing 747 has 18 wheels to take the load. Click on the wheels to see how one set of four wheels retracts inward under the wing. There are powerful disk brakes on all the main wheels. Checklist Checklist Takeoff Takeoff Landing Landing Glossary Glossary
Aircraft Propulsion Propulsion means to push forward or drive an object forward. A propulsion system is a machine that produces thrust to push an object forward. On airplanes, thrust is usually generated through some application of Newton's third law of action and reaction. Different propulsion systems generate thrust in slightly different ways. Se below to find out about propellers or click here to find out about jet (or turbine) engines.click here to find out about jet (or turbine) engines. Propellers Propellers are not flat but are curved, like aerofoils. They behave in the same way, with the blades striking the air at a low angle of attack and developing thrust in the way a wing develops lift. Advance-design propellers can change their angle of attack to produce the maximum degree of thrust. Variable pitch propellers can be set fine for full power and low speeds (takeoff), or coarse, for high forward speeds with reduced engine revolutions. Checklist Checklist Propulsion Propellers Jet Engines Glossary Glossary Propellers are common on small, light piston- engine planes. When driven by a jet engine they become a turboprop, developing much more thrust at takeoff and ideal for heavy load-carriers, like the Lockhead Hercules ~shown here. A future development is the propfan. This will have two rows of curved blades rotating in opposite directions to give power to match the speed of jets but with great fuel savings.
Jet engines In the jet engine, air is drawn in to the intake and compressed, with a resulting rise in pressure. Fuel is added and burned in a combustion chamber. This produces a high-speed, hot gas. It flows through a turbine, which uses just enough of the energy from the gas to power the compressor, while the rest of the energy provides thrust, as it escapes at speed through the exhaust nozzle. Movable jet nozzles are used in the Harrier fighter plane. They point downward to provide lift for vertical takeoff and then backward for conventional forward flight. Click here to learn about the Boeing jet engines made by GE. Supersonic Supersonic planes can fly faster than the speed of sound. There are many supersonic military aircraft, but only one supersonic transport (SST) that has been in commercial service, the Concorde. The Concorde flew at an altitude of up to 60,000 feet and at twice the speed of sound (2156 kph, 1340 mph). At the speed of sound a plane travels faster than the pressure waves it sets up as it flies through the air. You hear it coming after it has passed. The shock waves caused by the plane passing through its own pressure pulses is heard as a noise, which can range from a loud bang to a deep rumble and is often called a sonic boom. Checklist Checklist Propulsion Propulsion Propellers Turbo fan engine Turbo fan engine Glossary Glossary
The Turbofan Engine The high-bypass turbofan was a major advance in engine design. The airflow through these engines is much greater, lowering internal temperatures, improving fuel consumption, and dramatically increasing thrust to around 50,000 pounds· The engines are also much quieter, easier to service, and use less fuel. Some of the air drawn into the engine is ducted (or bypassed) around the combustion chambers. Unlike the jet thrust engine, which has a single-spool design - a compressor at one end of a shaft with the turbine at the other - the turbofans are either two-spool or three-spool designs. The image below shows the layout of the engine. Click on the engine to see inside, click again to see how it works. The three pressure systems are shown in blue, green, and red. The low-pressure wide- core fan is driven by the turbine of the low-pressure spool. The intermediate spool links the central compressor with the central turbine. The high-pressure compressor is linked to the high-pressure turbine. Kerosene is sprayed into the combustion chambers, mixed with the air, and burned. The tremendous heat created drives the turbine blades and is forced out as a continuous and powerful exhaust jet. The turbo fan works well at both high and low speeds. Checklist Checklist Propulsion Propulsion Propellers Jet Engines Glossary Glossary Click the engine see the combustion process ….
Modern airports have to handle an enormous number of passengers and many flights. The world's busiest airports process over 60 million passengers and 900,000 aircraft movements a year. Airports need a great deal of space for passenger terminals, aircraft hangers, runways and tarmac. They must be easy to get to and provide car parking on a huge scale. Runways must be long. How Airports Work Sophisticated radio and radar systems keep planes apart when they are taking off and landing. They are the responsibility of the Air Traffic Controllers, who keep aircraft apart horizontally and vertically, within the airspace, or sector, they look after. When many planes are waiting to land the controller will get them to stack. They flew in patterns at different altitudes until a runway is available. The control tower monitors the movements of all planes on the ground and in the air. Checklist Checklist Ground Services Ground Services Glossary Glossary
Aircraft Ground Services The modern passenger jet depends on a vast fleet of ground vehicles and a large ground crew to keep it in operation. It has to be refuelled. The refuel truck can pump aboard several hundred gallons of fuel in a minute. A water truck supplies water for the passengers to use. The luggage is brought to the plane by a baggage carrier and loaded onto the aircraft by a forklift or mobile conveyor belt. Checklist Checklist How an airport works How an airport works Glossary Glossary
Aerofoil - any aircraft part or surface, such as a wing or rudder, designed to utilize air currents to aid in propelling, lifting, and controlling movement. Aileron - a movable flap on the rear edge of an airplane's wing, used to control rolling and banking. Drag - the aerodynamic force that opposes an aircraft's motion through the air Elevator - a hinged movable horizontal surface whose position is altered to produce up or down movement of an aircraft. Fuselage - the body of an airplane, to which the engines, wings, and tail are attached and within which the passengers, crew, and cargo are contained. leading edge - the front edge of an airfoil, propeller blade, or sail that faces the wind or direction of motion. Lift - the force that directly opposes the weight of an aircraft and holds the aircraft in the air Propulsion - the act or process of creating a force that causes motion Rudder - a movable vertical blade at the rear end of a ship or airplane, used to control direction. Spoiler or flap - a long, narrow, hinged or fixed surface that modifies airflow and thus improves the performance of the vehicle or aircraft Supersonic - exceeding or capable of exceeding the speed of sound waves through air. Tailplane - the horizontal airfoil of an aircraft's tail assembly that is fixed and to which the elevator is hinged. Thrust - the propelling force acting on an aircraft Turbine - an engine driven by a moving fluid, such as water, steam, or air, that pushes against the blades or paddles attached to a central shaft. Turboprop - a turbojet engine with a turbine- driven propeller that provides a large part of the thrust, adding this to the thrust of the jet exhaust. Undercarriage - an aircraft's landing gear. Weight - the heaviness of an object due to the effect of gravity Checklist Checklist
The content of this resources is based on: Marshall, Ray, and John Bradley. The plane: Watch it work by operating the moving diagrams! Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Viking Kestral, 1985.