Learn to throw a curveball…and fly a plane?
While it’s clearly not the same thing, would you believe it’s based on the same principle?
For sportsmen and -women, throwing a curveball is all about the arm technique, but there is also science (and loads of practice) in this technique.
When throwing a curveball, you put a spin on the ball as it leaves your hand. As it travels through the air, the spin causes the ball to disturb the air around it. The spin causes air on one side of the ball to move faster than the other, resulting in uneven pressure on the ball, making it curve.
So where do airplanes fit into all this? Well, airplane wings are designed to be curved on top, which creates an imbalance of air pressure on either side of the wing, resulting in lift.
Just remember, though: just because you’ve mastered the art of the curveball by no means qualifies you to fly a plane!
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-ShareAlike 2.5 South Africa License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/za/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California 94105, USA.