March 2007 Issue

Pitch + Power = Performance

Complying with the laws of aerodynamics isnít just a nice idea; itís mandatory for safe, controlled flight throughout an airplaneís entire operating envelope.

Routine flight operations typically occur in steady or quasi-steady flight: the traffic pattern, normal climbs and descents, cruise flight, even turns. Yet for all its complexities, skillfully piloting an airplane requires that we strike a balance between just three pairs of performance-defining parameters. Two of these are the force pairs lift and weight, and thrust and drag. Itís a never-ending struggle to balance the weight of the airplane with lift, to balance the drag penalty resulting from that lift with thrust.

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