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How Does It Fly?

Transportation
Transportation


How Does It Fly?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.98

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    aerodynamics, airfoil, gas-turbine, tailwinds, velocity, jets, aircraft, resistance, propellers, mathematician, shaft, design, propeller, downward, fluid, opposite
     content words:    Daniel Bernoulli


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How Does It Fly?
By Trista L. Pollard
  

1     
How does it fly?
As I spy it go by;
Why, oh why, does a bird fly?
It flaps its wings
As I spy it go by.
Why, oh why does a bee fly?
It flutters its wings,
As I spy it go by.
Why, oh why does an airplane fly?
It glides its wings,
As I spy it go by.
But....why?

 
2     To anyone born during the last one hundred years, seeing a "metal bird" glide through the sky is not unusual. In fact, it is hard to imagine a blue sky without airplanes and jets racing effortlessly to their destinations. So, what is the magic behind these fascinating machines? Mechanical energy and air are the main reasons airplanes and other airborne vehicles fill our skies. Let's look at the aerodynamic principles behind flight.
 
3     Aerodynamics focuses on the motion of air and other gases. Scientists who study aerodynamics use this information to design aircraft that travels efficiently in the air with very little air resistance. Air resistance is the force or friction that a vehicle experiences as it travels through the air. In aerodynamics there are three basic forces called thrust, drag, and lift that affect how an airplane travels through the air. Thrust is the force which moves the airplane forward. Drag is the force that holds the airplane back as it is flying through the air. Finally, lift is the upward force that opposes earth's gravitational pull. It is the lift that helps to keep the airplane in the air. To explain the science behind lift, we need to look at the work of Swiss mathematician Daniel Bernoulli (1700-1782).

Paragraphs 4 to 6:
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