HOW STUFF WORKS
QUIZZES

Lift or Drag? The Physics of Flight Quiz
by Staff
Long before the Wright brothers guided their fixed-wing aircraft over the North Carolina dunes, daredevils and engineers worked to decode the secrets of sustained heavier-than-air human flight. What do you know about the physics of flight?

• drag
• lift
• mass

• aileron
• engine
• rudder

• drag
• lift
• weight

• elevator
• riser
• wings

• aileron
• airfoil
• appendage

### Which well-known scientific principle describing the pressure of moving fluids is often invoked when discussing how an airplane generates lift?

• Archimedes' principle
• Bernoulli's principle
• Boyle's law

### What controversial book, first published in 2001, rejects the conventional wisdom about airplane wings and lift?

• &quot;Falling Up&quot;
• &quot;Understanding Flight&quot;
• &quot;Wright and Wrong&quot;

### A different, more modern view of airplane flight relies on another famous scientific principle. Which one?

• Darwin's theory of natural selection
• Einstein's theory of relativity
• Newton's third law of motion

### When air flows over an airplane wing, it sticks to the surface. What’s the name of this process?

• Coanda effect
• Coriolis effect
• Photoelectric effect

• camber
• lift
• pitch

### What are the two main types of drag?

• king and queen
• light and heavy
• parasitic and induced

### This term sounds threatening, but it merely describes the position of the wing relative to airflow.

• angle of attack
• killer coefficient

### What's the relationship between the angle of attack and lift?

• As the angle of attack increases, lift decreases.
• As the angle of attack increases, lift increases.
• There's no relationship between angle of attack and lift.

• It flips.
• It stalls.
• It stops.

• ailerons
• elevators
• propellers

• ailerons
• elevators
• fuselage

• engine
• prop
• rudder

### Turning an airplane smoothly requires a pilot to operate two controls simultaneously. Which ones?

• ailerons and rudder
• elevators and rudder
• throttle and elevators

### Supersonic flight changes aerodynamics drastically. Which two forces are affected most?

• lift and drag
• thrust and lift
• weight and drag

### What number can be determined by dividing the speed of an aircraft by the speed of sound in air?

• lift coefficient
• Mach number
• Reynolds number
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