‘As British as Queen Victoria’

Germany’s greatest fighter What if the Spitfire – that most iconic British fighter – wasn’t? British, I mean. What if it’s sighed-over elliptical wing (which, as any attentive high school student could tell you, isn’t even an ellipse) owed as much to the Germans it fought against as the English it saved? A masterpiece of aerodynamics Okay, I admit it’s a deliberately hackle-raising question… After all, the … Continue reading ‘As British as Queen Victoria’

Arnold AR-5 Homebuilt

Why It Goes So Fast

The Arnold AR-5 In August 1992, an ex film-maker from Northern California set the normally studious world of aerodynamics ablaze. It wasn’t just that Mike Arnold had designed and built his own plane in a cramped former restaurant, or that he’d set an official world speed record for aircraft under 300kg (FAI Sub-class C-1a/0) of 343.08 km/h over a 3km straight course. It wasn’t even … Continue reading Why It Goes So Fast

the Lift Equation

Feature image: © Ivan Cholakov | Dreamstime.com Like so many ‘first times’, my initial encounter with the lift equation was a fairly short and messy affair. My flying instructor wasn’t given to long preflight briefings in any case – and, to be fair, we’d agreed I would mostly do my own theory study. A wave of panic So imagine my surprise when I found myself facing … Continue reading the Lift Equation

Need a lift?

  If you ever want to convince someone that flying is magical, just remind them that scientists still can’t explain exactly how a wing produces lift. Theories abound. For a long time it was all thanks to Daniel Bernoulli and the idea that an airfoil accelerates the airflow, which means it must lose pressure perpendicular to the wings, thereby sucking you, your airplane and your credit cards … Continue reading Need a lift?