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“How can a jumbo jet fly?”

A common question about planes from people with a fear of flying is:

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“How can something as big as a jumbo jet fly?”

The answer is simple…take a brick into the garden and throw it and ask yourself why it doesn’t fly. As you know…it won’t fly because it doesn’t have wings and that’s it in a nutshell, because, generally speaking things need wings to fly.

Probably, what you find difficult to believe is that the wings can generate a big enough force to lift the plane… a plane just looks too big and heavy for any force to lift it into the sky …and then propel it at 600 miles an hour.

Here’s the answer: It may look very heavy, but it’s nowhere near as heavy as it looks. It weighs as much as ten large lorries and if you saw those alongside a jumbo jet, they’d look tiny by comparison. A jumbo jet is full of space, which weighs nothing; OK your airline fills the space up with some people and some fuel but not all of it. There’s an enormous amount of empty space inside it. So the first thing is that size and weight don’t match. Try to stop thinking of planes as being heavy… just think of them as being big rather than heavy.

Remember, a brick is smaller and lighter than a jumbo jet but it doesn’t fly nearly as well.

There are good explanations about how planes fly in the Book and Audio CD Set


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