Can the Wright Flyer
Handle It?

Velocity
(knots) 
Lift
(pounds) 
0 
0 
5 
28.1 
10 
112.3 
15 
252.6 
20 
449.1 
25 
701.8 
30 
1010.6 
Angle of Attack (degrees) 
Lift (pounds) 
4.0 
326.7 
2.0 
501.5 
2.0 
513.8 
0.0 
637.9 
0.0 
667.3 
0.0 
677.6 
2.0 
812.2 
4.0 
939.2 
6.0 
1053.2 
Say the Wright Flyer travels at a speed of 24.6 knots and it weighs 750 pounds with Orville on board. Use one of your graphs, to decide the angle of attack that the plane should fly in order to generate enough lift?
Hypothetically
speaking, if the Wright brothers wanted to carry 150 pounds of mail
on this flight, how fast would the plane need to fly in order to carry
this extra weight if the angle of attack is held constant? (Hint:
use one of your graphs and remember to include the original total weight
of the plane and pilot)
The structure of the Wright flyer is fragile and limits the plane from flying at speeds greater than 27 knots, so the plane continues to travel at 24.6 knots. Then what would have to be increased so the plane will be able to carry the additional weight (new total weight = 900 pounds)? And by how much?
In advanced engineering drag must be taken into consideration. In order to achieve flight thrust must overcome drag. The Wright Flyer barely created enough thrust to overcome the drag and to produce lift.
*Lesson
plan created by Shilpi Verma, SHARP 2002 Summer Intern, with the help
of NASA Engineers Craig Hange and Steve Smith, and Eloret Engineer Peter
Gage.