NASA Logo - Web Link to Vertical Line

+ Text Only Site
+ Non-Flash Version
+ Contact Glenn


Beginner's Guide to Aerodynamics
Cruising Aircraft and Balanced Forces Activity

If so instructed by your teacher, print out a worksheet page for these problems.

Open the slides called Airplane Cruise-Balanced Forces, Forces on an Airplane, and Aircraft Motion-Unbalanced Forces (with text). Read the explanations on the four forces on an airplane and what happens when the forces are balanced or unbalanced.
  1. Define force.
  2. What are the four forces acting on an airplane?

  3. How do each of the four forces act on an airplane in flight? (Which direction does each force push or pull on the airplane in flight?)

  4. Define balanced and unbalanced.

  5. In terms of the four forces acting on an airplane, what needs to happen so the forces are balanced? What do we call it when all four forces are balanced on an airplane?

  6. You are traveling on an airplane and the pilot announces on the intercom that you have reached your cruising altitude of 32,000 feet. Explain what the pilot is telling you. (Include what is happening with the four forces on the airplane).

  7. During a flight when we are cruising at a specific altitude, the four forces are balanced. At which points during a flight are the forces unbalanced?

  8. Define Newton's First Law of Motion.

  9. In your own words, explain how Newton's First Law of Motion explains the motion of a cruising airplane.

  10. What are some ways the forces on an airplane can become unbalanced? (Name at least three).

Related Pages:
Lesson Index
Aerodynamics Index


     First Gov Image

+ Inspector General Hotline
+ Equal Employment Opportunity Data Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
+ Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
+ Freedom of Information Act
+ The President's Management Agenda
+ NASA Privacy Statement, Disclaimer,
and Accessibility Certification


NASA Logo   
Editor: Tom Benson
NASA Official: Tom Benson
Last Updated: Thu, May 13 02:38:24 PM EDT 2021

+ Contact Glenn