The military-aviation book “The Devil Dragon Pilot” focuses on a secret aircraft that can fly at unbelievable speeds with special engines. While not disclosing too much in this positing and ruining it for readers, I thought you might want to understand some of the basic components of an aircraft and some simple aerodynamic concepts.

There are four forces on an aircraft that is flying in level, unaccelerated flight. The forces are thrust, lift, weight, and drag. If one of them exceeds the other, the aircraft is out of balance. Which is ok, because that’s how an aircraft, balloon, glider, missile, or rocket flies through the air.

The forward thrust is generated by the engines, and in Devil Dragon’s case, there are more than one. This force overcomes the force of drag. Drag is a force that acts rearward, like a parachute, and is generated by a disruption of airflow by the wing, along with other things sticking out of an aircraft. The force drag is opposite of thrust.

The third force is weight, which is the total amount of the aircraft, along with fuel, weapons and aircrew. If you ever fly on a commercial carrier, you would include luggage, meal carts, and carry-on bags, too. The weight of the aircraft pulls it down because of….wait for it….wait…the force of gravity! The force of gravity is opposite of lift and pushes down through the center of gravity, known to pilots as the “CG”.

Most airplanes have the same major components to the airframe, too, and Devil Dragon is no different: wings, landing gear, fuselage, and an engine(s). You already inherently know these parts: fuselage is the main body of an airplane and is where you and the aircrew sit, along with your luggage; wings are the airfoils that are bolted to the sides of the fuselage that support the aircraft in flight; landing gear support the aircraft on the ground for take-off, landing, taxiing, and parking. You already know engines!

And that’s how Devil Dragon flies.  Read it today.

Question for readers: where is the fuel stored on an aircraft?

 

Gulfstream displaying wings, fuselage, and powerplant

Gulfstream jet displaying landing gear, wings, fuselage, and powerplant

 

Written by Author Lawrence A. Colby

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