Nope, it isn't magic, and the pilot isn't wildly flapping her arms up and down. Thankfully, the physics that keeps an airplane aloft is a bit more down to earth.
In simple terms, planes are held aloft by lift, the force generated when air flows over and under an airplane wing simultaneously. Air travels faster over the curved top of the wing than below it. That reduces air pressure on the wing from above. Voilà! Lift! (Though admittedly it's a bit more complicated than that.)
As long as the plane moves forward through the air, propelled by jet engines or propellors, this lift-generating principle applies. If the forward motion falters... well, as NASA puts, "No motion, no lift."
Need a visual? We don't blame you. Check out the MinutePhysics video above for a primer (and animation) covering the physics of flight.
BEFORE YOU GO
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
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